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Feature Article on Labor Day parade . Topic: EVENTS
By Jim Sayre in September, 1999


All factories and most retail outlets closed for the first ever Labor Day parade in Sidney 100 years ago when the city was "given over to her makers," according to The Sidney Daily News (Sept. 4, 1899).  A parade through downtown, ending up at the west entrance of the courthouse for speeches, was led by the Reed Band, the fire department, city officials, and members of the City Council. But, the parade’s highlights were the display floats of local industry manned by employees wearing badges inscribed "Our Day."  The floats were colorfuantique army hat 2.gif (160165 bytes)lly described by The Sidney Daily News reporter:

  • "The Sidney Pole and Shaft Company...float (was) decorated with flags and bunting and loaded with poles, shafts, buggy tops and other articles of theirmanufacture...seventy employees of the factory...carried a neck yoke, while a red, white or blue badge with the name of the factory ornamented the lapel of each man’s coat.
  • "Anderson’s Wheel Stock Works had three floats in the line. They were tastefully decorated with the national colors. To one was attached the placard: ‘We help make the wheels go.’ These floats were loaded with heavy wheels, hubs, spokes, rims and other articles of their manufacture. There were some seventy representatives in the line, each carrying a spoke.
  • "The Sidney Carriage Body Company was a beautiful float ornamented by national colors and loaded with carriage and buggy bodies...their rear was brought up by a buggy body in decorations carried on the shoulders of some of the employees.
  • "The Bimel Carriage Company was represented by three conveyances. The first was the carriage in which rode the office force. Their float...was occupied by a number of their employees who were apparently making buggy tops, buggy cushions, welding iron and going through other movements necessary in the building of the manufactured product of their plant.
  • "The Given tannery and fly net factory was represented in the parade by the tally-ho in which rode the lady employees, (with) some thirty men on foot. This float was tastefully decorated and the fly nets and collars exhibited on it showed to the best advantage.
  • "Perry Bayley had a float at this point in the parade. On it the men were busily engaged cutting, rolling, and soldering tinware and making it into buckets and tin cups.
  • "The employees of the Wagner Brewing Company made a most creditable showing in the parade. There were some twenty of them, most of whom wore blue working blouses and carried umbrellas...
  • "The Sidney Steel Scraper Company’s representation was headed by a large drag scraper hauled by a fine team of horses while a steel wheelbarrow brought up the rear. They had some forty men in line, many of whom carried steel hammers used in their work.
  • "The Wagner Manufacturing Company had some forty of their employees in the line, each of whom carried at his right shoulder a nickel plated skillet, one of the products of that thriving industry.
  • "Donaldson & Bryant, broom manufacturers, were represented by some fifty employees, each of whom carried a broom at his right shoulder."

Perhaps the most amazing thing about the celebration was the short length of time it took to organize it. "The celebration was first spoken of last Thursday and the success that was made of it by those in charge certainly speaks well for their untiring work," editorialized The Sidney Daily News.


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