CLEVELAND - Everyone loves a parade, especially one that marks a family holiday tradition for hundreds.
The annual 11th Congressional District Labor Day Parade kicked off at Kinsman Road and East 146th Street Monday morning. Two miles of crowds caught candy from politicians, police officers and firefighters as marching bands and dancers entertained.
“It’s something we do every single year. We look forward to it,” spectator Kimberley Stephenson said. “We’re obviously missing the big guy this year.”
Congressman Louis Stokes began the parade, now in its 44th year, which his successors continued. This parade took on special meaning this year, as Stokes was on many minds following his recent death after a fight with cancer.
“Some people have his button on, so it does mean something and as people celebrate the day, they also remember him,” Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said.
Grand Marshall Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-District 11) was among many politicians shaking hands and greeting constituents.
“I grew up right here on the street of 139th,” Councilman Zack Reed said. “I remember this parade when it first got started. I remember coming out as a kid like these kids are.”
Senatorial candidate and former Governor Ted Strickland also appeared.
“People have a lot of thoughts on county government. We listen, and we try to respond,” Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish said.
Several labor unions took part in the parade as well.
“It's a celebration of all the hard work all the unions ever put in to guarantee fair pay, fair wages and things of that nature,” said Sammy Quizk, a member of Millwrights Pile Drivers Local 1090.
A festival followed the parade at Luke Easter Park.