Chicagoland celebrates Labor Day with parades, festivals

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Despite the heat, many soaked up the last bit of summer hitting up parks and parades across the Chicago area on Labor Day.

In Jefferson Park, people celebrated that last day of Taste of Polonia, which is Chicago's oldest neighborhood festival. This year the festival drew nearly 50, 000 people this holiday weekend.

"For all the people who are living in the neighborhoods who don't have the summer homes don't have the luxury of being away from city this is one way we pay back," said Hubert Cioromski.

Sound and art celebrating working men and women worldwide were on display in Washington Park as part of the African Festival of the Arts - which is a 30 year staple of Labor Day in Chicago.

"I do want to celebrate (the working man and woman) because when it comes to culture it brings people together," said Bamba Thiam, a Senegalese art vendor.

"I think it's great to be with friends and family out here in the park it's a tremendous fellowship time to come together. We celebrate all those who work so hard to build a city build this country, starting with the first folks who didn't get paid - like slaves - up to the working day today and the unions that fight for us and just wages for people," said Fr. Michael Pflager, of St. Sabina Church.

The holiday, the fight for fair wages and the eight-hour workday all have deep roots in Chicago; remembering those struggles was a theme at several Labor Day celebrations across the region, such as the parade in Lowell, Indiana and Naperville's Last Fling of Summer.

Back in Chicago, Hutch Hoepner, 11, wowed visitors with the day off celebrating a break at Navy Pier.

"It's great. Sometimes we work so hard, so we have to come here and enjoy the scenery," said Chicago resident Maria Delosreyes.

"I feel like its stress free. I'm used to working downtown back home, and it's always chaotic and everyone is in their own world, so it is nice to see everybody relaxing," said Teodora Slijepcevic, who is visiting Chicago from Canada.
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