By Geri Gibbons, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
WILKES-BARRE — Area residents came out to Kirby Park on Monday to celebrate Labor Day and mark the end of summer at the fourth annual NEPA Labor Day Celebration and Festival.
The event, organized by the NEPA Labor Festival, is meant to honor the labor movement and the contributions of American workers while providing an atmosphere of fun, according to organizers.
Dozens of vendors provided everything from food to crafts to face painting.
John Walton, representing the AFL-CIO, said the event was a great opportunity for laborers to gather and enjoy sometime outdoors.
“Several politicians were also here, and representatives from several unions enjoyed the chance to talk with them,” he said.
Walton, who had a booth in front of the band shell, said he found attendees of the event friendly and engaging.
Michael Kosmaczewski, of Long Pond, was enjoying Jamaican jerk chicken as he made his way out of the park.
“You don’t get this just anywhere,” he said, licking his fingers.
Kosmaczewski, a member of the Rusty Nails who played at the event, said the band received a great reception.
“A lot of our friends traveled to come to the event,” he said. “They enjoyed everything about the event, the music, the food and the rides available for kids.”
Kosmaczewski, who brought his wife, Angela, and son, Austin, out to the event said it coincided with his son’s 10th birthday, making it extra special.
John Davis, of the Family Service Association, was on hand along with representatives of other service organizations to provide information to attendees.
“I also enjoyed the food,” Davis said. “I got a cheesesteak with everything.”
Laura Barra, of Drums, came out to the event with her 8-year-old son, Jayden Craig, who especially enjoyed the playground area.
“When he got hungry, he loved the funnel-cake fries,” she said. “It was worth the powdered sugar that I got all over me.”
Although Barra said the weather was “too hot,” she said she was grateful for the opportunity to spend time with friends and family in the midst of the busyness of work and school.
Julianna Fabrizio, 3, enjoyed the playground area.
Her mother, Kaitlyn Dixon of Dunmore, said her daughter preferred to spend time simply playing on the swings and slides.