Festival Provides Temporary Relief for "Labor Pains"

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TOPEKA, Kan. - Labor Day is a day of bar-b-que, shopping bargains and a day to celebrate the fruits of our labor!

Topeka held its 7th Annual Labor Day festival downtown, starting with a parade.

People lined the streets to enjoy the parade, which included entries from local unions, companies and political campaigners. All the groups wanted to spread a message that this is a day to honor American workers.

Dawn Pershall brought her children to the parade. "It recognizes how hard everybody works through the year and gives them that one day to just kind of kick back and relax and get out and have some fun and show how they support the United States of America," Pershall said.

Ruth Friend also watched the parade. "It's very important because people are working longer hours now and they're stressed out and they need a day off."

Larry Russell is a member of the Topeka Fire Department Local 83. He said he came out to the festival to support all laboring people, like himself. "That's what made this country great. I just wish more people in this town would support labor."

"Labor day is very important because it shows everybody's hard and true work throughout the year," Pershall said.

The parade route ended at the state capitol building, where the festival continued with free food provided by the Topeka Federation of Labor. Political leaders running for re-election and people running for office were guest speakers at the festival after the parade.

Labor Day Festival Committee Chair Ginger Smoot said the committee plans all year for the event. "This is just our way of saying thank you to them: giving them the day to just sit here and relax and we put this on for them."

Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894.