Annual Labor Daze event celebrates holiday on Sunday


Fay Dacey, right, and Ezra Cruz with their daughter, Sorcha Dacey-Cruz, look at handmade fabric flags at Woody Blue's Rainbow Flags Fabric Art booth during the Labor Daze Fest at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza in 2012.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer/file
Published: Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 10:39 a.m.

Firemen, hot dogs and families. For Jeremiah Tattersall, this was an unusual sight.

Facts

Labor Daze Fest

What: Annual event celebrating Labor Day with music, food, vendors and family activities
When: 4-10 p.m. Sunday
Where: Bo Diddley Community Plaza, 111 E. University Ave.
Cost: Free

“The firefighters gave out a couple hundred free hotdogs,” said Tattersall, a field coordinator for the North Central Florida Labor Council, about last year's Labor Daze Fest at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza. “They said 'Here is a hotdog. We are union firefighters (and) we deserve to work with dignity.'

“Usually when you hear about firefighters, police officers or public works people you think of them (as) abstract numbers,” he said. “You don't think of them as someone who has a family, who carpools with your family to school, who loves puppets, or who loves eating hot dogs just like you.”

Such one-on-one interaction is an important part of the Labor Daze Festival, a free event held the Sunday before Labor Day that celebrates the holiday with music, food, entertainment and resources for the community. The third annual Labor Daze Festival is planned Sunday from 4 to 10 p.m at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza.

The festival is the second-largest Labor Day event in the state, said organizer Trisha Ingle, also known as Mama Trish. About 4,000 people attended last year's Labor Daze event. The festival features live music and more than 50 vendors along with a variety of activities for the family. Children can have their faces painted and play with Hula-Hoops and other toys. The Florida School of Massage will give massages, and the Gainesville Rock Gym will have rock-climbing sessions. Wandering puppeteers, minstrels, jugglers and instrumentalists will circle the grounds.

“I wanted it to be free fun for people who work all the time and don't get (to have) a lot of fun,” said Ingle. “I also wanted to send people home empowered with more tools to deal with life than when they came.”

Local activist groups, unions and non-profit organizations will share resources with people, Ingle said. Job training and matching information will be provided by Florida Works, the regional workforce board for Alachua and Bradford counties. The Alachua County Supervisor of Elections will offer voter registration, and the Alachua County Labor Party Just Health Care committee will provide information on medicare for all.

Tattersall said the Labor Day should not be treated like another generic holiday. “Something we take for granted today is you work 8 hours and five days a week...that is something that didn't happen until people fought and died to get,” he said. “There is nothing more American than a hotdog, a beer and Americanized labor.”

Sunday's event will feature five hours of music from such performers as Ricky Kendall, Mama Trish vs. Godzilla, The Savants of Soul and Wester Joseph's Stereo Vudu.

“It's a great idea that the festival is from the point of view of the working class,” said David Moore, the drummer for Mama Trish vs. Godzilla. “Generally people get up and dance. There is usually a gang of 4- and 5-year-olds who can't help themselves and start dancing around. It's usually funny to see it's one of those aw moments.”

Corrie Lovette, a daytime anchor for WCJB-TV20 who will serve as host of Sunday's event, described Labor Daze as a charitable event that appeals to the whole family.

“I'm really happy about volunteering with community events,” Lovette said. “(Labor Daze) is free and it's for the whole family. That's always valuable for working families.”

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