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Labor Day

By Jane Whitmore - | Sep 9, 2020

2020 has some of us all mixed up! For the last week, we have been thinking Labor Day was coming up sooner than it actually is. True, Labor Day holiday is the first Monday of September. With most of a week before that date this year, it seems that Labor Day is later than usual.

Labor Day is a federal holiday in the United States celebrated on the first Monday in September to honor and recognize the American labor movement and the works and contributions of laborers to the development and achievements of the United States. –Wikipedia

Labor Day is looked at as the “unofficial end of summer”. This is due to August vacations and students preparing to go back to school. Many schools, like those in our area, begin classes before Labor Day.

Labor Day also points to the annual celebration in Graettinger. That’s not going to happen this year.

From the Graettinger website, 2019a:

“Graettinger has the distinction of observing a continuous Labor Day Celebration from 1896 to present.

“The first Labor Day Celebration was in 1896 on the farm of Mr. A.A. Wells and son, Carl. This first picnic was sponsored by the Farmers’ Institute according to the September 4, 1899 edition of the Graettinger Times.

“The Farmers’ Institute Picnic was changed to the Graettinger Labor Day Celebration, held in town at the September 4, 1913 celebration. A carnival atmosphere now prevailed.

“So the celebrations continued with good programs and order up to the present. The men and women of the Graettinger Labor Day Committee are to be commended for their loyal, dedicated and excellent work.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that continuous annual celebration ends at 123 years. Everything has been put on hold during 2020, due to the ongoing pandemic.

This year, let’s think about all the fun from past Labor Day celebrations in Graettinger. Over the years, numerous Graettinger residents have been honored by serving as Grand Marshals. The parade is a big hit that involves a lot of people and draws a huge crowd.

Miss Graettinger is crowned each year at the annual Variety Show. She and her court reign over the holiday weekend celebration.

Annual activities include garage sales, street dance, the antique tractor pull, and BINGO. Bake sales and the annual turkey dinner at the church are always well attended.

FFA Fun Day, Legion Races, and Fun and Games at the park are great for kids of all ages. There is always anticipation at the bicycle give-away and Grand Prize drawings. Carnival rides and games set up on the downtown street is a delight for all.

It appears the only events in Graettinger this weekend are the golf tournament and the softball tournament. We look forward to 2021 with another Graettinger celebration.