Families flock to Labor Day parade, Naperville festival
Residents painted the town red, white and blue at the annual Labor Day parade in Naperville on Monday.
Just ask 12-year-old Sophie Scrima, of Naperville.
“It’s just really fun, and it’s where a lot of people come together,” she said. “It’s really fun to be with a lot of people to watch the same things and do all the same things.”
Families flocked to the annual Labor Day parade presented by the City of Naperville and the Naperville Jaycees. Festivities commenced on the final day of the Last Fling, an end of summer festival that ran over Labor Day Weekend in downtown Naperville.
This year’s parade theme celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Naperville Park District.
Festivities began just after 10 a.m. as paraders marched in formation from Naperville North High School, went south on Mill Street, traveled east along Jefferson Avenue, moved south on Main Street and proceeded west on Porter Avenue to end at Naperville Central High School.
Scrima was in attendance for the parade alongside her family. She said the parade serves as a great way to cap off the summer.
“It’s like a last hurray and it’s just really fun for everyone to come together,” Scrima said.
Joanne Gallagher, of Naperville, sat in a lawn chair beside her friend waiting for the parade to begin. She said the festivities give her a sense of pride and a chance to display patriotism.
“I just like the whole community thing about it and everybody getting together and just enjoying the last weekend before winter,” Gallagher said.
Gallagher said finding a good spot to watch the parade wasn’t a hassle.
“When you know what to expect and you’re not in a hurry, you just stroll up and enjoy it and find a good spot,” she said.
Gallagher noted how popular the parade is for those in the community, and said the turnout for this year’s event didn’t surprise her.
“So far it’s nice,” she said.
Allison Turnauer-Childs, of Naperville, brought her children with her to the parade. She said the parade has personal significance to her, and being there as a mother has additional meaning to her.
“I used to be in the parade growing up,” Turnauer-Childs said. “It’s starting to become a tradition now that I have my kids.”
Turnauer-Childs said they have a friend who was planning to be in the parade and that played a part in why she and her children decided to join the festivities.
“It’s a sense that you’re proud of them, you’re excited for them,” she said. “It’s fun to be able to scream.”
Laurie Parker, of Berwyn, said she was enjoying her time at the Labor Day parade.
“I’ve never really gotten into Labor Day other than just going to a barbecue,” she said. “I think it’s great. I get to see a new place I don’t get to go to often.”
This year was Parker’s first time attending the Labor Day parade in Naperville.
Parker said she heard about the festivities while watching the news. She said she was pleased.
“It looks amazing,” Parker said. “In fact, the last time I was in Naperville was probably a couple years ago and I am amazed at the whole production and everything.”
Steve Prazma, of Naperville, was at the parade with his wife. He said they come out to the parade every year.
“We really like to see all the different floats and all the different participants in it and all the different bands,” Prazma said. “Just the whole atmosphere, it’s just enjoyable.”
Apart from the parade, the Last Fling featured a slew of activities including a rib cook-off, a dunk tank, car show and eating contests.
Prazma said the Naperville festival has a lot of appeal.
“The food, the community, the whole end of summer,” he said. “It’s the Last Fling so you enjoy yourself and the whole end of summer.”