Labor Day parade celebrates workers

Delaney Lovett

The theme of Marquette County’s parade this Labor Day reiterates what the holiday was created for: “Honoring America’s Workers.”

“Workers are the ones who make America go ‘round. Without them, where would (our country) be?” said Russ Williams, Marquette Commissioners’ Committee member.

The parade runs just over a mile along Euclid Street, Main Street, Division Street and Lakeshore Drive in Ishpeming.  Following the parade will be an array of activities for all ages; there will be a picnic, a rally, free mine museum tours and even a giant inflatable bouncers for attending children.

“We try to draw people from all over the Upper Peninsula. My favorite part is the picnic and all of the people I see and get to talk to. The rest of the year I’m usually busy working. It’s just great to see everyone having a good time,” Williams said.

Organizations across the U.P. represent America’s workers by marching in the Marquette County Labor Day Parade. Around 3,000 community members attended last year, and Mike Thiault said that he expects a larger turn out this time around. // Photo courtesy of

The Labor Day parade will act as a sort of fundraiser as well. The Ishpeming athletic booster club will be selling popcorn and ice cream throughout the day.

“We wanted to give a local organization the chance to get involved,” Williams said.

Tickets for meals cost $4 and include the choice of a pasty or two hot dogs, dessert and pop.

“After the parade, we usually take time to have a sandwich. Then we have a list of guest speakers that starts around 1:30,” said Mike Thibault, president of the Marquette County Labor Council.

On the list of speakers for the rally are elected officials and candidates including state representatives and co-parade marshals Mike Lahti and Gary McDowell, as well as Senator Mike Prusi. The celebration will also feature music by the Fast Eddie’s Blues Band.

“The past few years, attendance has been around 3,000. A lot of the community and union workers get involved,” Thibault said.

The Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum is offering free tours for participants on Labor Day, but is accepting donations. This museum is where the parade starts and finishes.

The parade starts at the Mine Museum on Monday, Sept. 6 at 11 a.m., followed by the picnic and rally that run from noon to 4 p.m.

Local unions are encouraged to march and enter floats in the parade.  Marq-Tran will provide transportation to and from the parade, and the Marquette stop is at the JCPenney at the Westwood Mall. For more details, contact Williams at (906) 475-9518 or visit