Labor Day fun mixes with politics at Chicago area parades, festivals

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Strong storms hit the Chicago area Monday as many tried to squeeze in some last-minute fun before the end of this holiday weekend.

Families flocked to Schaumburg's Septemberfest, where carnival rides were the most popular spot. And at Mount Prospect's Woodland Trails Park, there was fun for all ages - but especially the little ones. An arts and crafts section was set up for kids to indulge their creative side.

Back in Chicago, tropical drinks and grilled delicacies were on the menu at Washington Park's Annual African Festival of the Arts. It's been held for 29 years and just keeps on growing.

From the food to the amazing array of crafts, the four-day festival is one of the longest and largest of its kind in the Midwest. Weather permitting, singer Shaggy is expected to take the stage at 7:15 p.m. before the festival wraps up at 10 p.m.

WATCH: Politicians participate in parades around the state
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With the drums of the November election beating louder every day, politicians were shifting gears into their busy season.

In towns across the state, families lined streets on Labor Day for a chance to cheer on marching bands and many other hometown troops and groups. But they also got a big dose of something else: politicians who are gearing up for the November election.

The sound of music from marching bands filled the air in Naperville as thousands of people lined the streets to wave flags and cheer as they say their unofficial goodbye to summer.

But with the drums of the November election beating louder every day, politicians were shifting gears into their busy season. Governor Rauner was shaking hands, and shaking off any talk of him not being for Illinois workers.

"We've lost a lot of good paying jobs in this state for decades, we've been one of the slowest growing states and now the state's around us are growing their union jobs and all their good paying jobs much faster than Illinois. We've got to be pro-worker by being pro-growth, pro-investment and pro-job creation," Rauner said.

JB Pritzker, Rauner's rival, attacked the governor for his anti-union efforts at a labor picnic in Rock Island.

"He's about getting rid of unions, he's about lowering the standard of living of people across the state of Illinois. We've got to create jobs in the state there's no doubt about it, but if we don't preserve our labor unions while we're creating jobs we're doing it wrong," Pritzker said.

In the 6th District Congressional race, which Democrats nationally have targeted to flip, Sean Casten was apologizing for comments that surfaced last week where he was heard comparing President Trump to Osama Bin Laden - but he was not apologizing for the underlying message.

"We should be very afraid of a President who uses the tool that demagogues throughout history have used to say, if you are afraid, if you are disempowered, your problem is someone who doesn't look like you and I'll fix that," Casten said.

Incumbent Peter Roskam, who championed the President's tax cut earlier this year, said he was not taking this race for granted.

"But I think my opponent has a lot to answer for comparing the President to Osama Bin Laden and advocating nearly every tax hike conceivable," Roskam said.

For politicians, the campaigns now take on a new sense of urgency with the election just a little more than two months away.
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