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WGLT's reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, which began in McLean County in March 2020.

Labor Day Parade Canceled

Men holding a sign marching in the Labor Day Parade in Bloomington
Bloomington-Normal Trades and Labor Assembly
The Labor Day parade is the traditional start to the local fall election campaign, but it won't happen this year in Bloomington-Normal.

The pandemic has caused the cancellation of another of the big annual Bloomington-Normal event.

Last week, the coronavirus muted July 4 celebrations in central Illinois. Now, the Bloomington-Normal Trades and Labor Assembly (AFL-CIO affiliate) says the annual Labor Day parade won't happen either.

“The parade has always been the highlight of our year’s labor activities, an opportunity to salute the everyday working men and women who keep our community vibrant,” said Ronn Morehead, Bloomington & Normal Trades & Labor Assembly (AFL-CIO) president. “It was not an easy decision, but the last thing we want in the current health situation is to have large crowds gathering.”

The unions said they'll explore social media and other options to mark the holiday.

The parade theme would have been "150 Years of Struggle, Your Right to Vote," highlighting the 15th (1870) and 19th (1920) amendments to the Constitution giving African Americans and then women the right to vote.

The Bloomington Labor Day Parade dates to 1891, three years before it became a federal holiday. There was a 50-year hiatus in Labor Day parades in Bloomington with it beginning again in 1977. Since then, it has missed just one year because of a severe thunderstorm, according to the union.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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