Labor Day filled with parades

Originally Posted Online: Sept. 02, 2013, 8:59 pm
Last Updated: Sept. 03, 2013, 10:41 am
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By Tyler Langan

Rock Island and East Moline held their annual Labor Day parades on Monday, celebrating the labor movement and, in the case of children, candy and floats.

The Rock Island parade began shortly after 9:30 a.m. As the first floats and cars pulled past Washington Junior High School, kids stepped into the street to stake out a strategic position to snatch up as much candy as possible.

Steve Kulig, of Rock Island, said he tries to make it to the parade every year with his grandkids. His favorite float was the Whitey's Ice Cream truck giving out frozen treats.

"The Whitey's popsicle," Mr. Kulig said as the parade came to a close. "It's just a tradition every year."

Rock Island Slideshow:

The Whitey's Ice Cream float was popular with many people at the Rock Island parade, including Dawn Bance, of East Moline, who said it was her favorite. She said she also liked the marching bands.

"It seems like they add more and more every year, from farther and farther away," Ms. Bance said. "My kids, of course, just love the candy."

The Rock Island parade had several marching bands, including Rock Island High School, Davenport Central High School and Alleman High School.

The East Moline parade, which started at 11 a.m., had a much stronger union presence than the Rock Island parade.

Unions from nearly every type of trade were represented, from plumbers and pipefitters to the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW).

The UFCW led the parade, with a union representative talking into a bullhorn, extolling Walmart to do better for its workers. The UFCW believes Walmart pays workers too little, according to the union's website,

The operating engineers had a car in the parade with "rat patrol" painted on the side, referring to nonunion workers who do the jobs of on-strike union workers.

Russ Sellers and his wife, Marilyn Sellers, of East Moline, went to both parades. They said the East Moline parade had more candy."I think the kids are better off on this one," Mr. Sellers said.

Ms. Sellers said the couple went to the Rock Island parade because their nephew, Tommy Unley was on a float for winning a business of the year award for his boat service company, Unley Marine.

Nicki Gibbs came to the East Moline parade for the first time. She lives in Moline and attended because family members were in the parade throwing out candy alongside a John Deere tractor. She watched from the side with her son, Anden Wood.

Dressed in a Batman T-shirt with a cape attached, Anden charged as soon as handfuls of candy hit the ground, gathering as much as he could before another shower of sweets hit the pavement.

"I got popsicles," Anden said, smiling."Tootsie Rolls, too."


Local events heading

  Today is Tuesday, Sept 2, the 245th day of 2014. There are 120 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: It is estimated that 300,000 people attended the recent Democratic convention in Chicago when Gen. George B. McClellan of New Jersey was nominated as a candidate for president of the United States.
1889 — 125 years ago: Alderman Frank Ill, Winslow Howard and Captain J.M. Montgomery returned from Milwaukee, where they attended the national Grand Army of the Republic encampment.
1914 — 100 years ago: Three members of the Rock Island YMCA accepted positions as physical directors of other associations. Albert Cook went to Kewanee, C.D. Curtis to Canton and Willis Woods to Leavenworth, Kan.
1939 — 75 years ago: Former President Herbert Hoover appealed for national support of President F.D. Roosevelt and Congress in every effort to keep the United States out of war.
1964 — 50 years ago: The Rock Island Junior chamber pf Commerce has received answers to about 65 % of the 600 questionnaires mailed out recently in a "Community Attitude Survey" to analyze sentiments of citizens towards their city's various recreational, educational, and civic service programs.
1989 — 25 years ago: The two thunderstorms passing through the Quad Cities last night and early today left some area residents reaching for their flashlights.

(More History)