Following the huge turnout and success of its last parade, the Wellington-Oakdale Old Glory Marching Society (WOOGMS) continues the celebration with its 40th annual Labor Day Parade on Monday, Sept. 1. Chicago's oldest do-it-yourself parade group steps off from the corner of Pine Grove Ave. and Wellington St. at 11 a.m. All are invited to join this favorite neighborhood event that attracts patriotic participants of all ages. Enthusiastic marchers will uphold the WOOGMS motto: Everybody marches, nobody (just) watches.
The Labor Day Parade will feature a variety of surprises in honor of striding by the 40-year milestone. As usual, the customary Official WOOGMS beat will be provided by the lively Jesse White Drum Corps. The parade will travel on its odyssey through the neighborhood, concluding about seven blocks and 30 or 40 minutes later (depending on the lead marchers' ambling pace) on the front lawn of St. Joseph Hospital, 2900 N. Lake Shore Dr. Along with candy and other treats for the marchers, entertainment at the hospital will include the breath-taking acrobatic feats of the world renowned Jesse White Tumblers.
WOOGMS began in 1963 when the late Al Weisman started parading around the block near his home with his son, Tony, a few friends and an American flag. Nurtured by Weisman and his desire for fun, patriotism and community involvement, WOOGMS has grown to a loosely organized but easily recognized troupe of more than 1,000 marchers (over 1,500 showed up for this year's Memorial Day Parade!) who come from all over the metropolitan Chicago area and beyond. After Al's death in 1974, Tony assumed the duties of Parade Marshall and has been leading WOOGMS on Memorial Day and Labor Day with the same contagious enthusiasm ever since. Tony is now also assisted by his two sons, 13 and 9 years of age, as the third generation of Parade Marshalls waiting in the wings.