During the past weekend's 132nd Labor Day Celebration in Boonville, there was talk about history and tradition.
There were carnival rides, kids games, a talent show and, of course, a parade. But, perhaps more importantly, there were communities coming together to celebrate workers and the sweat that has gone into building the country.
Madi Goebel of Evansville said she got involved in the Labor Day Association after working on political fundraising in southwest Indiana.
Since becoming involved with the organization, Goebel said she's been proud of the work she's done with the association.
"They work tirelessly to give the community the ability to celebrate," she said. "To be able to give that to our children, our families and our community is a great sense of pride."
With so much negativity and divisiveness in the country, Goebel said she is happy to be a part of a celebration of people coming together to take care of their coworkers and neighbors while building their communities.
She said she is glad to be part of a new generation of workers pushing the labor movement forward.
"What a positive and hopeful
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weekend," she said. "Now it's our turn to step up. It's why I take my vacation week to set up rummage items. I feel like it's my duty."
Goebel said everyone working to help put on the celebration each year shares that sense of duty.
"Everyone out here -- it's in their blood," she said. "It's in my blood. I want people in my generation to see that ... I'm working so people can celebrate the holiday and take the day off."
Jarrod Skelton of Evansville said the holiday itself is a way to express solidarity across all workers. He said the celebration is about cheering on the workers that work for our communities every day.
"It's an opportunity for families to come together and celebrate the hard work of those in the trenches working hard to keep this country moving," he said.
Skelton said he grew up attending the parades and celebrations alongside his father who was involved in unions. He said he realized at a young age that the weekend was more than just the fun -- it's about solidarity and coming together as a community.
"It's why I'm still involved today," he said. "It's something in your heart."
The Labor Day Association and Celebration is home to the third oldest Labor Day event in the nation. The first Labor Day Celebration in this area was held in 1886 in Princeton, eight years before Labor Day was made an official national holiday in 1894.
To put that date in perspective, the Battle of Little Big Horn, otherwise known as Custer's Last Stand, had taken place only 10 years prior. That first celebration was very similar to the present Labor Day Celebration.
The inaugural event was sponsored by the Knights of Labor, which was one of the labor groups representing unionists in Indiana. As trains full of unionists arrived in Princeton and were greeted by the Princeton High School Band and other local bands to escort them to the Princeton Fairgrounds, a parade ensued. Speeches were made by area labor leaders, and a tradition was born.
This year was the 32nd time Boonville hosted the celebration.
Now, with this year's festivities passed along with the holiday, the local unions that worked to bring the event together will go back to their day-to-day work. Meanwhile, the Labor Day Association will work to decide on the location for the 133rd celebration.