The end of summer! Back to school! Family Barbeques! Super Sales! Silver Salmon fishing! Are just a few of things that generally come to mind when thinking of Labor Day celebrations on the Peninsula. The origins of the holiday in the U.S. however go back to the late nineteenth century when labor unions organized parades in New York and elsewhere. In 1894 it was officially adopted as a federal holiday on the first Monday of September to celebrate the spirit of the American worker and their labor organizations.
Last year the United Steel Workers (USW) Local 4959 decided to bring the original meaning of the holiday to the Kenai Peninsula and held their first Labor Day Picnic at Skyview High School. “We saw an opportunity to give something back to the community while stressing Made in America and the fact that our USW members live here in the community and are here to support the community,” said USW vice president Peter McKay. “We see people here having fun and it gives us the chance to get our message out for people to look for products that are made in the USA. It doesn’t take much effort and it keeps jobs here in America and that’s what we want to do,” agreed event organizer Loren Hollier. “It’s our members that sponsor this picnic with the help of the Skyview Booster Club. We sure appreciate their help in putting this event every year and we plan on coming back every year with the message of support for the American worker and the products they produce,” said USW Secretary Treasurer Glenn Trimmer. Underscoring their theme all the prizes given away at the picnic every hour on the hour were “Made in America.” Soldotna Mayor Peter Micciche was on hand to welcome those who turned out on a blustery September afternoon,
“There were lots of people here not only to have fun but to recognize the importance of returning to celebrating Labor Day in the old days and remember the value of the American worker which drives our national and local economy,” said Micciche. The USW Labor Day picnic included strong man mallet striking and volley ball games, activities and entertainment from the comical talents and music of Dan “Sea Star” Pascucci. Central Emergency Services set up a fire truck and offered kids the opportunity to handle a real fire hose aiming to knock over a trash can.