Free Labor Day picnic at Stewart Park is a 32-year Ithaca tradition

September 6, 2015 by Rachel Cera

This Labor Day, as every Labor Day for the last three decades, there's a free picnic at Stewart Park for members of the Ithaca community. It's hosted by the Midstate Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and the Tompkins County Workers' Center. There's also a free fireworks show east of town on Monday.

Organizers are providing free burgers (both meat and vegetarian), hot dogs, and beverages, and attendees are asked to bring a dish to share. Richie Stearns and the Evil City String Band will be providing live music.

The theme of this year's picnic is "Organizing for Respect." Local human service agencies and living wage employers will have tables at the event, and organizers will present several annual awards. According to a statement, "The Mother Jones and Joe Hill awards are presented to people for their activism, organizing, and sacrifice at work. The Friend of Labor award is presented to a member of the community who has spoken out publicly or taken action in support of working people. The notorious Goat of Labor goes to an especially egregious offender of workers’ rights and/or the value of labor to our common good." 

The picnic is from 11am to 3pm, with announcements and award presentations beginning at 12:30, on Monday, September 7th, at the main pavilion at Stewart Park.

Also Monday is a free community fireworks display at Celebrations on Slaterville Road, east of Ithaca. Music, food, and entertainment begin at 6pm. A few years ago, Celebrations picked up hosting a long-standing annual fireworks show run by community members in Caroline, when licensing requirements changed.

The owners at Celebrations ask everyone to car pool and follow parking directions from staff. Food and beverages will be available for sale. Attendees are welcome to bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages, but outside alcohol is not permitted.

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