For the second year in a row, the city's labour community banded together to put on Labour Day Family Fun Fest.
The free festival featured live music, food and dozens of children's activities, from bouncy castles to fire truck tours to a dunk tank.
“I think it's lots of fun,” Mageau said. “It gets the kids out and being active. We especially like the cotton candy, the free barbecue and the bouncy castles.”
The fact that everything — including the food — was free of charge is especially attractive, she said.
“I think it's good because then everybody can come, and they don't have to worry about finances.”
Mageau said she thinks it's fitting there's a family-friendly festival on Labour Day. “You can work and have a job and all that, but it all comes down to family,” she said. “You have to take time for family.”
Self-described “best friends forever” Caleb Smith, 9, and brothers Ty Parsons, 10, and Owen Parsons, 8, said they were having a blast at Family Fun Fest.
By the time they were interviewed by Northern Life, they'd already visited the dunk tank, hopped in the bouncy castles and even held a bazooka and had their faces painted at the army reserve booth.
They were still hoping to tour the fire trucks and line up for free cotton candy.
“We can't have more fun than this,” Smith said. “When you say festival, the first thing that comes to my mind is fun.”
Before Labour Day Family Fun Fest started last year, the city's labour community held smaller Labour Day events, but for the majority of Sudburians, it was a bit of a “missed day,” said event organizer Richard Eberhardt.
Eberhardt estimated about 5,000 people were in the park at noon on Labour Day, with several hours of festival fun yet to come.
Family Fun Fest is largely funded by generous donations from the United Steelworkers Union and the United Food and Commercial Workers' Union.
But Eberhardt said many other local unions, businesses and organizations also chipped in to make the event a success.
Steelworkers Local 6500 president Rick Bertrand, one of several labour leaders to speak at a press conference held during the event, said he's very proud of Family Fun Fest.
“The UFCW and the Steelworkers got together last year and started our Labour Day festival here at Bell Park,” he said.
“This is just tremendous. Now we have the Sudbury and District Labour Council and all the unions pulling together. It's a great success.”
Jamie West, who was elected president of the Sudbury and District Labour Council earlier this year, said Labour Day is a time to reflect on workers' gains.
These include pensions, benefits, improved wages and even things people take for granted, such as lunch breaks and weekends.
While some paint unions with a bad brush, and only think about them in terms of strikes, West said Family Fun Fest gives people a chance to learn about labour's positive contributions.
When asked if he thinks those attending the festival were concerned about labour issues, he said most of them were probably just there to have a good time, but that's OK with him.
“I think the visibility of the union flags — the UFCW, the Steelworkers, the labour council, CUPE, ETFO — they become more visible, and you just associate having fun with them,” West said.
Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas also shared her thoughts on Labour Day at the press conference. She said it's not just a day off, but a time to think about workers' hard-fought gains.
With plans to introduce anti-replacement worker legislation once again this fall, Gélinas said she's attempting to make further improvements. The last time she introduced the bill, it died when the legislature was prorogued.
“I think it's the next step for us in Ontario to really protect workers and communities,” she said. “The use of replacement workers is very, very divisive for a community.”