ELKHART — Labor Day in Elkhart was met with the caravan of entertainment for residents.

Nearly 20 groups participated in the annual parade, geared at celebrating the national holiday.

“I think it’s great that there is a celebration as a reminder of what we have and the freedoms we have to be able to enjoy a day off,” said Melissa Momotiuk, of Elkhart.

Groups that participated in this year’s Labor Day parade downtown included the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Elkhart Street Department, the Elkhart Democratic Party and the Elkhart Republican Party and their candidates, Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese, as well as Elkhart City’s Colorguard, Police, Fire, EMS and CSI units, the bomb squad robot, and Concord and Osolo Fire.

It wasn’t all city officials, though, several local businesses and nonprofits joined in to thank workers within the community for their hard work day in and day out.

Steve’s Gym, Bam Tree Service, Crossroad Tours, Tom’s Towing, Zodiac Parade Corps, Cub Scouts Troop 787, ProFleet, River Oaks Community Church

Clubs including Michiana Mustangs, Michiana Jeep Club, Hoosier Ford Club, Kiwanis of Elkhart, Hoosier Ford Club joined in as well.

There were trucks, motorcycles, antique cars, monster trucks, utility trucks, bicycles and more passing through town during the parade.

Local schools also joined in, with the Elkhart included the Elkhart Schools Air Force Junior ROTC and both Elkhart Memorial and Elkhart Central bands participating.

“I loved the fact that the Blazers and the Chargers bands both played because we won’t be seeing that for long,” Chuck Grodnik,of Elkhart, said.

Following the parade, Kerlikowske Family Farms once again brought many boxes of watermelon downtown to give away for free. Previously held in the Central Park, the after-parade event was moved closer to parade central.

“It’s so unreal to me that when you hand someone a gift, they’ll say, ‘What’s wrong with it?’ Or ‘Why are you giving this away?’ Can’t we just give something out of our heart to someone else and they just accept it? We’re trying to break that trend.”

To do that, Kerlikowske Farms gives away any unsellable watermelons from their farm in Niles.

“Whatever don’t give out, we go mobile, to area apartments and anywhere that accepts the gift.”

They travel all over the area in the Life Giving Fruit bus, spreading God’s message and offering free fruit to anyone who will take it. This was their third year at the annual Labor Day parade. They brought 1,250 watermelons with them Monday, blocked off the road and had themselves a block party complete with face painting and music by Eric McDaniel in celebration of Labor Day.

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