By Briana Vannozzi
All the pomp and circumstance you could ask for to end this last weekend of summer. It’s the largest and oldest Labor Day parade in the state and more than 10,000 people lined the streets of South Plainfield to enjoy the floats and fun.
“We’re here with our granddaughter for her first South Plainfield parade,” said South Plainfiled resident David Stogoski.
For more than 50 years residents in and around this working class town in Middlesex county have considered it a staple.
“A great community affair we haven’t missed it in 42 years,” said South Plainfield resident Robert Abbate
When asked what time he arrived Abbate said, “About seven because as you can see its packed, you have to get out early because almost everybody comes out.”
And if you’re running for office in New Jersey its also the best place to get your name and face out there before election season ramps up.
“Well its great that we see our leaders out on days like this I think its really important, so you’ll see everyone from local council people all the way up to state wide representatives and I think that’s a really good thing,” said Cory Booker.
This year the U.S. senate race with Booker- a frequent parade attendee and his challenger Republican Jeff Bell will be one of the most watched. They shook hands and greeted the crowd, separately of course.
On whether he planned to see his challenger Jeff Bell, Booker said, “I heard that. I heard that and God bless him. I’m glad he’s participating in this as well.”
Candidates say it’s the best way to connect with people and hear their concerns first hand.
“I’m really looking forward to this home stretch of our campaign, I’ve been running for six months and it really feels great to be out here and be able to communicate directly to the voters of New Jersey,” said Jeff Bell.
It’s also become a who’s who for statewide elections.
Noticeably absent from today’s parade is Gov. Chris Christie, who has marched in years past. As has every other governor in this typical jersey campaign tradition.
“I guess this is the political kick off where everyone starts running around shaking hands and doing their crazy stuff. I mean you can see some of our streets have signs up already in opposition but we ask that they keep them down after Labor Day because really it’s for the town its not for the political part,” said Labor Day Parade chairman John Sorrentino.
No one along the streets seemed to mind, they were too occupied by the show.
The good weather was a real plus today, it means the festivities can be capped off with the traditional fireworks show set off in the borough tonight.