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."
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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, ufcw.org.
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."
Today is Saturday, April 19, the 109th day of 2014. There are 256 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Miss McCorkindale has opened millinery rooms over Gimbel's dry goods store, where she offers a choice lot of millinery goods, which she will manufacture to order. 1889 -- 125 years ago: The little South Park Presbyterian chapel celebrated it first Easter decorated with flowers for an afternoon worship service attended by a large congregation. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The Wennerberg Chorus of Augustana College has returned from a 2,000-mile tour in the Eastern states and Illinois. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Col. Charles Lindbergh has stated that he is convinced that Germany's air force is equal to the combined sky fleets of her potential European foes. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Small gas motors may be permitted on boats in the lake to be built in Loud Thunder Forest Preserve. The prospect was discussed yesterday at a meeting of the Rock Island County Forest Preserve Commission. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The annual Dispatch/Rock Island Argus Spelling Bee continues to be a family tradition. Ed Lee, an eighth-grader at John Deere Junior High School, Moline, is the 1989 spelling bee champion from among 49 top spellers in Rock Island, Henry and Mercer counties. He advances to the competition in Washington, D.C. Runnerup was Ed's sister, Susan.