Juneau picnics in the sun on Labor Day

Luckily, the sun didn’t take the day off this Labor Day. Happy kids flew kites and played catch Monday afternoon at Sandy Beach while lazy clouds floated across the sky, giving just enough protection from the sun to keep it the perfect temperature.


This idyllic setting was the backdrop for the Annual Community Labor Day Picnic, put on each year by the Juneau Central Labor Council.

Local mom Nicole Shannara wrangled the troops — all four of her kids and their dad — for a carefree day at the beach. She said it’s nice for everyone to have a day off together, especially with her children’s uncle visiting from Washington.

“Not at each other, guys,” Shannara reminded her sons Seth, 9, and Tanim, 6, as they shot foam air rockets into the sky. All the beach toys were provided for the event by the council.

Shannara’s 4-year-old daughter, Shiva, ran across the sand, a Spongebob Squarepants kite soaring in her wake. Shiva said the toy was cool, but she’s no kite novice — she has a princess one at home. She said she was having fun playing on the beach, but lamented that her older sister, Raine, 11, “doesn’t want to play with toys.” Raine started middle school this year at Floyd Dryden.

“She’s getting just a little bit old,” Shiva explained.

Dennis Young, local International Longshore and Warehouse Union president, has been cooking burgers and sausages at the Labor Day picnic for the past four years, he said. This year, about 300 people came out to enjoy the picnic’s free food and music, a larger crowd than most years, he said. The Central Labor Council cooked up 250 burger patties and 25 pounds of chili for the event.

Young said he doesn’t have a specialty when it comes to picnic fare.

“I do them all pretty good,” he said.

Ericka Lee and her two sons happened upon the picnic on accident. She said her older son, JJ Cherkas, 2, woke up with a hankering to play outside, and they wound up at the beach. While JJ enjoyed the swing set, 3-week-old Xavier Cherkas snoozed in a baby carrier attached to Lee.

“It’s Labor Day, the sun is out,” Lee said. “We’re making friends with the playground.”

Contact reporter Katie Moritz at 523-2294 or at katherine.moritz@juneauempire.com.


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