Stateline’s Labor Day festivities are back for the first time since the pandemic began

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – Several annual Labor Day events are returning for the first time since the pandemic began two years ago. For many Stateliners, they believe this marks a time for the community to appreciate the opportunity to celebrate together.

For Labor Day Parade participant Karen Johnson, Labor Day is about honoring the opportunities we have in America. These opportunities have come because workers in the labor movement have come together to fight for them.

“We’re in this together, we’re all in this together,” Johnson said. “We need a team to make everything work.”

This year in particular, Johnson says, is a reminder of just how important the word together, Labor Day, really is.

“We’ve been locked up for a long time,” Johnson said.

For the first time since the pandemic began more than two years ago, Johnson and his family watched union workers march in the annual Labor Day Parade in downtown Rockford on Monday morning. It was just one of many Stateline holiday traditions, which made their first comeback since 2019.

Sen. Steve Stadelman’s free youth basketball tournament, Hoop Stars, also rebounded for the first time in three years.

“I’m glad people are feeling more comfortable with COVID, getting back into the rhythm of things as far as activities go,” Sen. Steve Stadelman said.

Stadelman says it’s the eighth time he’s hosted the tournament, and it’s a time when he can get the kids together on their day off to play ball.

“I’m a basketball player, my kids are basketball players,” Stadelman said. “So I think we need to start a three-on-three basketball tournament on Labor Day for the kids.”

While Stadelman thinks the drop in attendance is due to the cancellations of the past two years, above all he’s happy to see the kids having fun together again.

“Kids from all over the community, from different parts of town, all come here to play basketball,” Stadelman said.

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