KANAWHA, Iowa – Cities nationwide got together to honor and celebrate Labor Day on Monday.
The holiday is most commonly seen as just another day off on the calendar, but it’s about much more than that. Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894 after workers of all industries and backgrounds held protests nationwide. Some were peaceful and others were violent, but their message was the same; they were demanding better hours and pay.
It was all a part of the Labor Movement during the 19th century and one of the final pushes for a better working environments was “The March of 10,000 Workers” on September 5th 1882. The march went from City Hall to Union Square in New York, and workers took unpaid time off to demonstrate and show the importance of their message.
The march of 10,000 was considered to be the first official Labor Day parade in the U.S., and it is believed to be what started the trend of parades on Labor Day. While that march has certainly gone down in history, there is a unique parade in our area that has quite a history of its own.
Every year, the residents of Kanawha come out for a parade of their own. This year, the streets of the town were lined with people eager to watch the 67th annual parade. It’s an impressive tradition that has certainly stood against the test of time.
Darla Yeakel, one of the coordinators for all of the Labor Day festivities says that while they gather to celebrate the national holiday through games, the parade, and candy, this day is about so much more for their town.
“It raises money for the youth activities, like the pool, the baseball diamonds and the boy scouts,” Yeakel says. So, the more you enjoy your day off in Kanawha, the better.
Yeakel tells us that they plan to do it all over again next year, and their parade and carnival will always take place on Labor Day. However, she says they need more help from the community to keep things going. While it’s not ideal to work on Labor Day, it’s a good way to give back to a well-loved community.