Cloquet Labor Day celebration still going strongNinety-three years ago, according to records, Cloquet held its first Labor Day celebration. It’s still going strong.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Ninety-three years ago, according to records, Cloquet held its first Labor Day celebration.
It’s still going strong.
“As far as I can tell, the first celebration took place in 1919, the year after the town burned down,” said Mike Kuitu, president of the Carlton County Central Labor Body and Labor Day parade director this year. “And, when you think about it, this year’s flood impacted a lot of lives. I hope this year everyone will join in and celebrate, the way they did back in 1919.”
This year’s Labor Day events will begin with the “Old Timers Banquet” to be held at the Northwoods Credit Union arena, 1102 Olympic Drive (the hockey shelter) at noon Sunday. This free meal is for people 62 years of age or older who have lived in Carlton County for at least 10 years. Doors open at 11 a.m. Prizes will be awarded to “least youngest” man, “least youngest” woman, longest married couple, and for presentation of the oldest Cloquet or Carlton County Labor Day button. The banquet will be prepared by Jim n Jo’s Katering with music by Lorren Lindevig.
Labor Day will kick off with a parade beginning at 11 a.m. Monday, one of the longest continually held Labor Day parades in the country. As one of the only parades in the state on Labor Day, the Cloquet event generally attracts a number of prominent politicians, especially in election years.
“It looks like we’re going to have both Congressman Cravaack and [Republican Senate candidate Kurt] Bills,” Kuitu said. “On the other side, we’ve got Al Franken, Rick Nolan and I think former Congressman Oberstar will be here too, supporting Rick Nolan [the DFL candidate for Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District].”
Those hoping to get a look at the local political candidates won’t be disappointed either, Kuitu said.
This year’s grand marshal is Kevin Toboleski, in honor of his 20 years as Labor Day parade director and his community service.
The parade, which follows the usual Cloquet Avenue parade route, begins at 18th Street and goes down Cloquet Avenue as far as Eighth Street. Also in the lineup this year are bagpipes and other bands, the Cloquet Community Band, floats, dignitaries, and community and area labor organizations. Businesses and workers will also proudly display their craft. Lineup for the parade will be along Avenue B after 9:30 a.m. To register for the parade, call Kuitu at 218-391-6367 or email firstname.lastname@example.org by Sept. 1.
The community festivities don’t stop when the parade is finished.
The Cloquet Labor Day Classic Car Show will begin at 10 a.m. and last until 3p.m. This classic car show will be located on Avenue C between 12th and 14th streets and on 13th Street between Cloquet Avenue and Avenue B. One of the many awards given is the Bob Oswold Memorial Trophy, commemorating the long -time leader of the Labor Day Celebration. For more information, call Mike Tillman at 218-390-9825.
The Carlton County Labor Day Celebration also holds a Labor Day Picnic. This free picnic is open to all, regardless of union affiliation. It will be held upstairs of the Cloquet Labor Temple, 1403 Avenue C, beginning right after the parade and serving until 2 p.m.
The Labor Day Carnival will provide free entertainment for the youngsters in Veterans Park at the intersection of Highway 33 and Cloquet Avenue from noon to 5 p.m. As always, it will feature inflatable amusement rides. New this year is a petting zoo, and a folk singer who will conduct singalongs and maypole dances. The Cloquet Area Fire District will demonstrate rescue and extraction techniques and unveil CAFD’s new training tower. Local farmers will sell produce through the Carlton County Farmers Market.
Glenn Plante is in charge of the carnival this year, Kuitu said, noting that the new volunteer is “breathing fresh life” into the celebration.
Labor Day Buttons are available for the minimum donation of $1. Proceeds help with costs of the celebration.