Where beach chairs and blankets last Labor Day covered the grass at Comstock Park, the Cataldo Catholic School football team practiced on-side kicks.
Instead of the Spokane Symphony and Rossini, a boom box poured out Supertramp.
And the food vendors and politicians always drawn to a crowd? Well, the politicians showed up.
Spokane City Council members Steve Corker and Richard Rush were seated amid a small group convened Monday evening by the Comstock, Manito/Cannon Hill and Cliff/Cannon neighborhood associations.
Organizer Teresa Covert said that with the symphony muted by lack of sponsors for the annual Labor Day concert in the park, the picnic was an attempt to return to the neighborhood get-togethers of past holidays.
But there was little time to put together a replacement event after cancellation of the concert in mid-July, she said, and turnout was probably limited by the cool, ominous weather.
Covert said she had missed only one concert in 18 years.
Lori Kinnear, Rush’s legislative assistant, said an attempt to rally alternative musical talent had faltered, in part because of Pig Out in the Park, in part because schools were opening.
“Hopefully, we won’t have to do this again and the symphony will be back,” she said.
On the other side of the park – on the offensive side of the football – was another group also gathering for an annual feast, even if the symphonic centerpiece was missing.
Michele Staben said a concert and picnic had come to signal the end of summer, and back to school for her children, who were asking when the event was coming.
“I thought there would be more people with a similar idea,” said Staben, who saw few Labor Day celebrants around the Comstock’s periphery.
The symphony may not have been there, but Covert’s neighborhood group did not forget the reason for the holiday.
All raised a glass, or cup, to a toast proposed by Hal Ellis:
“To all those who labor, free, on this, their day, we drink to them and the fruits of their labor.”
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