A day off from school has become a day for schools in Nicolaus to get a little help from the community while getting a little entertainment in exchange on Monday.
The Nicolaus Labor Day parade will be celebrating its 16th year of raising funds for four schools in Nicolaus. The original idea was inspired by a similar event in Verona, which had been canceled a few years prior to the Nicolaus version’s start in 1991.
It started with the voices of a few parents who thought they could recreate the fun, fundraising and community spirit that slipped away in Verona, said parent Cindy Gander.
The idea was to have a parade for the schools and booths along the way for the community to come and support the schools.
For the town, it’s a chance to come together, raise some funds and have some fun.
“It’s a lot of work, but the kids love it,” Gander said. “My son said he likes it almost more than Christmas.”
The four schools rotate the work of putting together the parade and side events every two years.
This year, Marcum-Illinois Elementary School will be chairing the event. Set-up for the day is in the hands of East Nicolaus High School, while Pleasant Grove Elementary School is in charge of the parade route and Browns Elementary School runs a raffle and silent auction.
Proceeds from the day and concessions will go to the parents club or booster club of each school.
After 15 years, the tradition of this annual fundraiser has brought the community together tighter with each year. Some of the kindergartners who grew up with the parade have gone through college and are starting to bring children of their own to the schools, said parent Teena Earhart.
East Nicolaus High School Principal Wayne Tierney has helped his school get involved in the seven years he’s been there. The cheerleaders, football players and boosters all man booths to help bring in funds for the school.
“It’s an all-day family affair and a wonderful tradition that brings the community together,” Tierney said.
A pancake breakfast will kick off Monday’s festivities at 7 a.m., followed by the parade at 10 a.m.. The route will run from Garden Highway in Nicolaus, ending at St. Boniface Parish Hall.