Thursday, September 1, 2011

Labor Day, Issaquah Style

Before Salmon Days, Issaquah had a Labor Day Celebration. Like Salmon Days, it took place on Memorial Field. It lasted three days, and featured a carnival and a parade. The Labor Day Queen and her court had a spotlight role to play in the parade. Queen candidates were sponsored by fraternal organizations in town, and ticket sales determined the winner. The poster at left is from the 1956; Florence Bergsma was elected queen in that year.

There was also a dark side to Issaquah's Labor Days Celebration. The weekend-long event has been described as "a big drunk" by a member of Issaquah's police force who served in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The hard-partying aspect of the annual Labor Day celebration led to its demise. Although the party line was that the celebration had been discontinued due to "volunteer burnout," in reality, the town could no longer manage the throngs of revelers. The last Labor Day Celebration was held in 1968.

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