Florence set for annual three-day Labor Day party

The Labor Day parade is one of the popular events for the Florence Labor Day celebration. It begins at 11 a.m. Monday with Edmond and Carolyn Spencer serving as grand marshals.The 80th annual Florence Labor Day Celebration is less than a week away, offering people a way to end summer than by attending a family-friendly festival featuring music, games, food and fun.

This year’s theme is “Flashback to the Past 80 Years,” according to Trayce Warner, a member of the planning committee.

In keeping with tradition, the celebration kicks off Saturday with citywide garage sales, a Frisbee golf tournament, book sale and breakfast.

Street dance Friday

“We are excited to have Matt Engels performing Saturday evening (at 6 p.m.) and before the street dance,” Warner said.

The Banned will playing ’80s music, rock and country.

Vendors at Fourth and Main streets will be selling a variety of items, from cotton candy, to car care products and handcrafted items.

Food vendors include Advance Lodge No. 114 AM & FM Masonic Lodge, Florence Christian Church and Wagon Wheel Express.

Sunday events begin at 11 a.m. with a community church service in Grandview Park with pastor Sue Talbot of the United Methodist Church of Florence officiating.

Pastor John Branson of the Florence Christian Church will be providing music. A community potluck will follow at noon at Grandview Park.

“Anyone planning to attend the potluck is asked to bring a covered dish, but drinks will be provided,” Warner said.

In honor of Florence Labor Day’s 80th birthday celebration, cake is being served, she added.

Warner said she is looks forward each year to the kids’ bike decorating workshop at 2 p.m. at the corner of Sixth and Main streets.

“The workshop gives children a chance to show off their creativity, and all the kids get to ride their decorated bikes in the parade,” she said.

Prior to the vintage baseball game at 6 p.m. is an ice cream social at 5:30 p.m. for 50 cents per scoop.

The baseball game features the Howe House Griffins and the Harvey Boys, Warner said. Uniforms and rules are from the 1860s, and many of the players will be in attire from that era.

“The concession stand is serving hot dogs, popcorn, pickles, tea, lemonade, water and more, while it lasts at vintage prices, too,” Warner said.

The baseball game and fireworks at dusk will be at the Florence ball field, Ninth and Baker streets, weather permitting. A watermelon seed spitting contest is planned for after the game.

Monday activities

Activities continue Monday with food served by the Advance Lodge on Main Street.

In Unity Park, the Bryan Harper Memorial Horseshoe Pitching Contest begins at 8 a.m.

“The competition is with two-person teams only,” Warner said. “An additional entry fee is required.”

For running enthusiasts, the 5K “Rumpshaker at the Nation’s Crossroads” also begins at 8 a.m.

“The first 30 people registering will get a free breakfast at the Masonic Lodge,” Warner said. “Only one T-shirt per participant, and the shirt size can’t be guaranteed if anyone registered after Aug. 24.”

Door prizes will be distributed. Proceeds benefit Florence Labor Day committee and the Colon Cancer Alliance.

A fine arts show hosted by Bluestem Art Guild is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Florence Ambulance Building. At 10:30 a.m. is the flag raising in Veterans Park at Fourth and Main streets.

“The Marion High School and Marion Middle School bands will perform,” Warner said. “This event is sponsored by the American Legion, John McKay Post 308.”

Downtown parade

The Labor Day Parade begins at 11 a.m. This year’s grand marshals are Edmond and Carolyn Spencer.

No entry fee is required to participate in the parade, Warner said, but cash prizes will be awarded to the top three floats, all in open class. Prizes are $75, $50 and $25, respectively.

In the best classic car or truck category, $50 will be awarded for the first place winner.

Parade line-up begins at 10a.m. at the former football field on West Eighth Street.

Anyone wanting to enter in the parade should call committee member Melvin Honeyfield.

After the parade, anyone with a button, and is present for the drawing, could win $146, which represents one dollar for each year since the city of Florence was incorporated, she said.

Other attractions

Mutton Bustin’ begins at noon in the vacant lot one-half block east of Main on Fifth Street. Kids’ games and turtle races start at 1 p.m., and the FFA Barnyard Olympics begins at 1:30 p.m.

“Be sure to check out the Flint Hills Muzzleloaders Club Inc.,” Warner said. “This is the 22nd annual Labor Day Weekend Shoot planned Sept. 1-3.”

Shooting categories include adults, 18 and older; juniors, 13-17; and youth, 12 and under. Grand aggregate prize is being offered for rifle, pistol and hawk-knife.

Range hours are Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The BB gun shoot is for ages 11 and under on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and BB guns are provided.

A $5 entry fee for public shooters is required.

Buttons for the celebration are $5 per person, but children age 6 and under who are accompanied by an adult are free.

Handicapped parking is available at Fifth Street between Main and Marion.

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