Just a day ago, nearly 100 entries in the Jaycees Last Fling Labor Day Parade were lining up by numbers along Fifth Avenue and behind Naperville North High School, getting set to celebrate a tradition that began back in the mid-1960s.
Under glorious sunshine, parade-goers lined both sides of the streets from Mill to Jefferson to Main and to Porter.
All the thought and dedication that goes into every entry in every local parade creates wonder. Yes! Naperville loves a parade. From St. Patrick’s Day to Memorial Day to Labor Day and to Hometown Holidays, the community comes out with cheers for its parades.
On July 17 “five neighborhood guys” from Park Addition began building a float as a tribute to the Ellsworth school community, noting that their neighborhood is “nothing without our schools.”
For six weeks, Sven Davies, Dan Dodge, Thom Higgins, R.J. Ogren and Brian Pelecky resourcefully found supplies and “saved sales receipts” for everything they needed to create the classroom setting, complete with a black board and old-fashioned desks. Davies noted his appreciation that Pelecky had lent the trailer and Steve Mueller had helped locate indoor space to build the float to celebrate the school that opened in 1928.
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Davies’ check list of thank-yous extended to Principal Dick Allen, the Ellsworth Administration, members of the Home and School board and their wives who have supported the project that he called “a theater on wheels—a day in the life at Ellsworth.”
On Labor Day, retired 2nd grade teacher Jan Reid presented a “real lesson” to students seated at their vintage desks as the Ellsworth float meandered along the parade route in downtown Naperville from Naperville North High School to Naperville Central High School.
Standing high and visible in the long line of parade entries, the Ellsworth float also was followed by a large procession of students marching along to display school spirit.
As the Ellsworth float turned the corner at Porter and Webster, loud cheers were heard for the happy ending at the finish line.
“Thank you!” to all the students and parents who participated was expressed repeatedly from Reid from her perch on the float. Other adult voices in the crowd of students also rang out in appreciation.
After the parade the float went to Ellsworth to take some pictures. Then it went to the Park Addition neighborhood as the centerpiece “for little neighborhood reception before we make plans to dismantle it,” Davies said.
The Naperville Jaycees Labor Day Parade is another memory, thanks to volunteers and organizers, Laurie DeKruiff and Paul DeKruiff. Already some community groups have began planning for the same time next year in 2013.
RELATED POST: Ellsworth School Float for Labor Day Parade
FYI Going Forward: The Hometown Holidays Friends of Little Friends Electric Light Parade is slated for 4:30PM Sat., Dec. 1. Note that unlike other years, the parade will be held the Saturday after Thanksgiving Weekend— and the same day as the opening of the Riverwalk Santa House.
For information about the West Suburban Irish 20th annual St. Patrick’s Parade in mid-March, visit www.wsirish.org.Advertisement