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2009 Ontonagon LaborFest Parade

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 parade.

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 Goldenaires.

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


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