CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The Champaign County Labor Day Parade kicked off in downtown Champaign on Monday. For the first time in 15 years, the parade wasn’t in Urbana.

But the location change didn’t stop people from coming out to enjoy it all the same.

“We’re just glad there’s a great turnout,” said yearly paradegoer Valari Dillingham. “It’s kind of crazy that it’s as cool as it is, but I think it’s a nice change of pace.”

This year’s theme was “Yes for Workers’ Rights.” Different union groups walked in the parade, as well as some community organizations, political groups and high school bands.

It’s a celebration for laborers and despite a change of scenery, people still showed up for the 2022 Champaign County Labor Day Parade

“You know, it’s different, but I think it’ll be nice for everybody,” Dillingham said. “And this is where we come when we come for the Christmas parade. So it was awesome for us because it was a great place to be able to meet friends and family and everybody be together. And that’s part of it for Labor Day.”

The people we spoke with said it wasn’t the festivities alone that brought them out.

“Lots of union members in the family,” Dillingham said. “And so we are happy to support them.”

This year’s theme, Worker’s Rights, had some even more eager to support.

“It’s always good to be showing support for them because without them, you know, this stuff wouldn’t be around really,” said first-time parade attendant Nick Harden. “That’s at least how I look at it, like that.”

The committee in charge of the event said they are happy with the new location.

“The parade in the past has been rather long,” said Parade Committee Chairman Dave Beck. “We’ve had complaints about it. It was a one-way parade, and so once the parade was done, you had to find your way back to the start.”

The after-parade picnic was held at Westside Park. There were bounce houses and food stations for families to enjoy. The success of this year’s parade could mean future Labor Day parades for downtown Champaign.

The parade and picnic ended at 2 p.m. today. Officials would like to know your thoughts on the location change.