CLEVELAND (WJW) — There was music, dancing and a community coming together as one.
“It’s just so good for the kids, it’s good for the soul and the music is great,” said Cleveland resident Karen Smith.
Labor Day, the American holiday dedicated to recognizing achievements made by working people, was celebrated in style on the streets of Cleveland.
“Being out here, even if it’s a little shower — it’s great seeing the community come together,” shared Smith.
Leaders joined in the procession.
“I want to make sure that Clevelanders enjoy this last amazing day of summer,” said Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb.
Mayor Bibb said he attended these festivities during a campaign last year. A year later, he made sure to return to honor to the community that had been there for him from the start.
“This community made me. I played basketball in these streets right up the street. These streets made me the man I am today and I’m so happy to lead this city,” said Mayor Bibb.
For the 50th year, the 11th Congressional District Community Caucus Of Cleveland hosted today’s celebration.
For chairman Ariane Kirkpatrick, who has contributed to 40 of the 50 parades, it was a day of reflection.
“To me, it’s been emotional. 50 years. To keep something going in our community for 50 years and we are going to do it for 50 more years,” said Kirkpatrick.
They hope to set the right example for the next generation, to keep the tradition and community strong.
“Building legacy, empowering people and making sure we have a voice; that we have a voice and make a difference in what we want to have happen in our city — that’s what it’s about,” said Kirkpatrick.
The parade kicked off at the corner of East 146th Street and Kinsman Road and ended at Luke Easter Park, where continuing festivities included food, vendors, live music, line dancing, games a kid’s village and more.
The Labor Day parade was started by Mayor Carl B. Stokes. It’s been carried on by his successor, former Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, now the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, according to a news release.
It started in 1967 as a picnic. Stokes’ brother Congressman Louis Stokes expanded in 1971 to include a parade.