The largest Labour Day picnic crowd in recent memory turned out on a hot and sunny day in Waterloo Park on September 7th.
"I've been coming to the Labour Council's Labour Day picnics for over twenty years," said former Labour Council President Len Carter, "and I've never seen a crowd like that!"
A decision to offer food and drinks for free as a symbol of how Labour Feeds the Community likely was a big factor in the large crowds. Also helpful was the early promotion of the event through social media (the Facebook event was viewed 13,000 times!), which led to mainstream media coverage including the Top 5 Things to Do this Weekend on CBC-KW.
The event was a bit too successful, in that organizers had not bought enough food to feed everyone that showed up. In fact, long line-ups were present from the moment the picnic opened at noon, and the food actually ran out at 2:30pm.
"We feel very sorry for the many people - especially children - who came to our event and ended up being disappointed by not being able to get food," said Labour Council President Marc Xuereb. "But the event really was a success: so many people enjoyed the live music and children's rides, and we easily fed over a thousand people, way more than previous years' events!"
The NDP had a large presence at the picnic: all five Waterloo Region NDP candidates were present and played volunteer roles, serving either behind the bar or the BBQ. Many unions set up display tables and gave away t-shirts, frisbees, and pens with their union logos on them. Unifor 1106 co-operated with SEIU and USW to give away water bottles filled with fresh, cold tap water: their table was in high demand!
The Labour Council is grateful to the City of Waterloo who sponsored the picnic. Dozens of volunteers made the picnic possible. And several unions made significant contributions to the picnic, enabling the Labour Council to give the food away for free and still have net proceeds available to give to the United Way of Kitchener-Waterloo and area and the United Way of Cambridge and North Dumfries.
Thanks go to the following unions:
ETFO WR (OT)
Together in Education
To view more photos from this year's event, see our Facebook page.