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Cloquet goes big for Labor Day

Look for more tourists than usual at this year's annual Carlton County Labor Day festivities because the 99-year-old parade and surrounding events were highlighted in the Destination Minnesota 2018 travel magazine.

Additionally, with this being an election year, it's a sure bet there will be plenty of political candidates from all levels of government marching down Cloquet Avenue at 11 a.m. Monday, along with union members, school kids, athletic teams, soldiers, musicians and floats.

The festivities begin Sunday, Sept. 2, with the Old Timer's Banquet, which moved to the Four Season Event Center in Carlton at 11 a.m. Sunday. The luncheon is free for people ages 62 and older who have lived in Carlton County at least 10 years. Prizes will be awarded for least young man and woman, longest married couple, the oldest Cloquet or Carlton County Labor Day button, plus a mystery category.

Also with a change in venue: The annual Cloquet Labor Day Car Show has moved from Avenue C to the Northeastern Hotel, Saloon and Grille on Dunlap Island from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday. Voting closes at 2 p.m., with trophies awarded at 2:30 p.m. There will be grilled burgers and brats, beer and a "Classic Car" for-sale corral.

Those who prefer a more active start to their Labor Day holiday should head to Cloquet's Pine Valley Park, where they will have a choice of three races: the 5.5K and 11K Blue House Orphanage races and the Lost Forester Adventure Run, which wanders approximately 8 miles off-trail through the park and surrounding woodlands.

Lost Forester participants should bring a compass and plenty of water. Wearing flannel will get five minutes trimmed from your race time, organizer Tim Krohn said.

"I made the Lost Forester a little harder this year. They have to get across Otter Creek without the benefit of a bridge," said Krohn, who recommends sturdy shoes and long loose pants for the unique event. Visit to register for all three races. Race-day registration starts at 7:30 a.m., with raffle drawings at 8:30 a.m. and races starting after that.

Monday's most popular event — the parade — kicks off at 11 a.m. At 99 years old, the parade here may be one of the longest continually held Labor Day parades in the country, and it's certainly the biggest parade in the Northland. The parade begins at 18th Street and proceeds down Cloquet Avenue to Eighth Street.

This year, Minnesota AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Brad Lehto will be riding on the Carlton County Central Labor Body parade float. To register for the parade, call Tamara Jones at 218-391-2733.

Following the parade, there will be a free picnic upstairs at the Cloquet Labor Temple, 1403 Avenue C, from noon to 2 p.m. Donate to get a Labor Day button at the picnic to help support the annual event.

Also following the parade, but in the opposite direction, the Labor Day Carnival will again provide free entertainment for youngsters at Veterans Park from noon to 5 p.m. with inflatable games, a petting zoo and face painting, as well as folk songs and dancing around the maypole.

For more details, check out the schedule on Page A10.