Boonville will be hosting the 132nd Labor Day Celebration at the Warrick County Fairgrounds on Friday, Aug. 31, through Monday Sept. 3.
Labor Day Celebration President Charlie Wyatt said the four-day event is like a county fair, but most events are subsidized by a combination of labor unions, business and civic organizations and is a call for solidarity to all local unions to gather on Labor Day to honor all working men and women of the tri-state area.
It's the 32nd time in the history of the event for Boonville to host the celebration.
According to the association's records, the event was also hosted by Fort Branch once and Oakland City twice. Along with Boonville, Princeton has hosted the celebration 49 times, Evansville hosted 14 times, Petersburg nine times, Vincennes five times and Mount Carmel, Illinois, twice.
Wyatt said the event is about pride, celebrating labor and the American work ethic while also exhibiting the power of communities and organizations coming together to make the event happen.
"The Labor Day Association believes the American work ethic is something to be proud of and is celebrated," he said. "It's something we're proud of and everyone should see."
Ultimately, Wyatt said Boonville has continued to host and be involved in the weekend's activities while gaining from the increased economic boost when the event is hosted at the Warrick County Fairgrounds.
See LABOR/Page A2
He said businesses have seen an increased boost in profits over Labor Day weekend when the event has been hosted in Boonville.
"It's an opportunity to show off what is here ... it's kind of a ripple effect and benefits the businesses in the city," he said. "I know it makes a definite effect."
Entrance to the fairgrounds and parking are free and again this year, all carnival and amusement rides are free throughout the entire weekend.
Attractions at this year's celebration include the queen pageant, free open karaoke and Dollar Bil's Labor Day Association Rummage Sale on Friday, truck and tractor pull on Saturday and demolition derby on Sunday. Other events include the cutest pet contest, cutest baby contest, car show, poker run, talent show, gospel sing and featured speaker, Mark Lause, Ph.D. Senior Professor of History at the University of Cincinnati will speak on "Lincoln and Labor."
Vendor displays, food booths, and amusement rides are available throughout the holiday weekend with the area's largest parade on Labor Day.
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.
"We have tried to keep our modern-day celebration linked to our proud past by producing traditional events like the parade, gospel sing and picnics," Wyatt said. "We are able to offer a lot of quality family-oriented entertainment at a very reasonable cost. The celebration honors all working men and women, not just union members."