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

Labor Day filled with parades

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By Tyler Langan

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Photo: Todd Mizener
Jenna Sue and Malina "Rubie" Lee, of Viola, sport a 50's look while they wave to the crowd and throw candy from the hood of a 1962 Chevy Nova during the annual Rock Island Labor Day parade on Monday Sept. 2, 2013.
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Photo: Todd Mizener
Alleman High School sophomore Sarah Menage dances her way up 18th Avenue while handing out candy for the Alleman High School band during the annual Rock Island Labor Day parade on Monday, Sept. 2, 2013. Parade-goers and participants were treated to picture perfect weather for the annual parade with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70s. The forecast for the rest of the week calls for mostly cloudy conditions and a high of 82 degrees.
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Photo: Todd Mizener
Isaac Gomez, 5, of Rock Island, licks a frozen treat from Whitey's Ice Cream while sitting with his brother, Abraham, during the annual Rock Island Labor Day parade on Monday, Sept. 2, 2013. The Gomez brothers are two-thirds of a set of triplets.
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Photo: Todd Mizener
The New Windsor Drill Team ride up 18th Avenue during the annual Rock Island Labor Day parade on Monday, Sept. 2, 2013.
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Photo: Chet Strange
Parade participants pass out candy during the East Moline Labor Day Parade on Monday.
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Photo: Chet Strange
The Ironworkers Local 111 Union throw candy during the East Moline Labor Day Parade on Monday.
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A combine passes under a flag in East Moline during the East Moline Labor Day Parade on Monday.
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Photo: Chet Strange
Union workers and supporters throw candy during the East Moline Labor Day Parade on Monday.

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, 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."