|Ontonagon - September 7, 2009
Unlike last Labor Day, the day would be a peaceful and quiet one. Quiet
except for the sounds of the great bands and floats in the 2009 Labor Day
In 2008, just hours after the horrific early morning fire which destroyed
7 buildings with other buildings severely damaged by smoke and water the
51st Annual Ontonagon Labor Festival continued with the scheduled parade
A year later, the village has put the area back together.
This year the parade marshals were the members of the Ontonagon Volunteer
Fire Department, being honored for their heroic efforts in battling the
2008 conflagration. More than 10 fire departments fought the fire earlier
in the day and were subsequently replaced by volunteer firemen from
Wakefield, Ironwood Township, and Hurley WI.
Unlike last year's parade the usual parade route remained in tact. Last
year the route was changed to accommodate the County Prosecutor.
This year's parade featured several wonderful marching bands: Under the
direction of Music Director, Ben Mayer, hometown
favorite the Ontonagon High School Band which led off the parade. They were
followed by The Superior Pipe & Drums, a real crowd pleaser, with their
great music and talented dancers.
Once again the blue and gold from Bessemer would wow them along the parade
route. Year after year Mary Jo Mykkanen, the talented Bessemer Music
Director, produces one great band after another. This The Speed Boys and
Speed Girls once more got to show off what separates them from the rest of
the pack. In this years parade, there was a young drummer, who left
everyone talking. His performance was terrific and left us thinking would
we see him marching with the Goldenaires. We all hope so!
There was a small pop band playing from on top of the Northwoods Community
Church Float. They were very good and very enjoyable to listen to.
Rounding out the parade was the Great Goldenaires from Bessemer. There's
not too much to say about this great Drum and Bugle Crop that hadn't
already been said. They're simply the best the U.P. has too offer. Rich
Brown brought the group to perform and they did it as they always do. No
one goes away disappointed. Perhaps the only disappointment was the
unfortunate placement of an overly loud swap boat directly behind the
If any of the Goldenaires get to read this article, I hope they check out
the Speed Boy drummer, who just may be in Marty's one day.
In addition to the great music, this year had many terrific floats. We had
a hard time culling out the hundreds of photos of this year's parade. The
floats were colorful and exciting. Of course they were covered from stem
to stern with cute little kids, who were just as excited to be in the
parade, as were the crowd was too see them. The Northwoods Country Club
had an entire enterage with their Pirate Ship Float, as did St Paul's
Lutheran Church with their Pomeii Float. The Bauer Family and friends also
had a large and wonderful float "Ontonagon the Beginning". There were two
humorous floats: one mimicking the old hit tv show "Hee Haw" and the one
entry from the "Stein Club"
There was a noticible shortage of "Queens and Princesses in this year's
event. The crowd was pleased to see Payton Drew, from Negaunee. Payton was
this year's Pioneer Princess and was the only royalty represented.
In addition to the kids and cute animals in the parade there was also a
political presence in the parade. State Representative Mike Lahti march
the route handing out candies to the kids along the parade route. Mike was
joined by the float from the Ontonagon Democrats, who seized on the
opportunity to convert future voters. They brought along a live donkey,
which was a real big hit with the young people. They also handed out candy
to the people viewing the parade.
The county Republicans also had a float depicting Betsy Ross and the
American Flag. Another Betsy look-a-like handed out brochures along the
parade route. Next year they need to bring a long a cute little baby
elephant and candy for tomorrow's voters.
Parade Photo Gallery
Click on photo for larger image