Barack to wow unionists at Laborfest

Related story: "The 28 labor-states"

Nation's organizer-in-chief sets Labor Day event in labor-state

Barack Obama will be the special speaker at Laborfest.

Fresh from his triumph at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, the presidential candidate will bring his visionary message, plans for a better American and powerful oratory to Milwaukee, consciously connecting the national worker’s holiday, Labor Day, with the union members who in Milwaukee celebrate annually with a parade and free family festival at the Summerfest grounds.

But a warning – absolutely no tickets for the Obama evening event will be distributed at Laborfest.

The Obama visit, under tight security, will fill the Marcus Amphitheater (south of the main grounds) and start at 6 p.m. Monday, September 1.

Doors for seating will open at 3 p.m. for the 6 p.m. event.

Tickets for the general public will be distributed in advance only at Obama campaign offices throughout the state and for union members in special advance arrangements (away from Laborfest) with their union leaders.

Obama will lead this Rally for America’s Workers, speak directly about his plans to provide real relief for working families and discuss why we can’t afford “four more years of the same old politics and the same old policies.”

For the public, required tickets can be picked up starting at noon Sunday at Obama campaign offices – as long as the tickets last. While open to the public and the press, seating for the event is limited, so this is really a first come-first served rally for the public.

Plans for all this were rapidly developed by the campaign and by the Milwaukee Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO, sponsor of Laborfest.

Union members will have to work through the offices of their locals or through meetings off the grounds with their union leaders Sunday and early Monday to get their tickets.

Thousands of tickets are available to them and thousands more will be
distributed to the general public through Obama campaign offices in Wisconsin listed below.

A statewide interest in Obama’s speech – indeed a national interest, with traveling media expected from around the world -- is anticipated, so Obama organizers suggest visiting a campaign office starting Sunday to get the essential tickets.

The central office of the Obama “Campaign for Change” is downtown at 744 N. 4th St. (corner of Wells St.). In fact, seven hours before the Obama event starts, that’s where the vintage cars and Harley motorcycles gather to kick off Labor Day's 11 a.m. parade through downtown to the Summerfest grounds.

The free events there, open to all residents and families, are full of activities for children and adults. Dozens of Summerfest’s traditional food and beverage vendors will be open for business. Two bands will rotate full time at the Miller Stage. Bingo, pro wrestling and special displays and raffles are among the attractions.

These Laborfest activities run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., leaving enough time for participants to stroll over to the Obama event, which was announced just two days in advance, on Aug. 30.

Obama’s last Milwaukee visit was Feb. 16 in a major appearance for the state Democratic Party ahead of the Wisconsin primary. Many commentators have credited that primary with galvanizing his national campaign. Obama supporters expect his speech at Laborfest will do the same for the November 4 election.

It is hard to overstate the interest in his appearances and plans.
It’s an outburst of belief reflected in the numbers who watched his acceptance speech August 27 (the most-watched convention speech ever: 38.4 million viewers -- 57% more that John Kerry in 2004).

It was also anticipated by Milwaukeeans in 2004, when Obama (not yet even the senator from Illinois) spoke at Washington Park. Many pressed forward to greet him in person, saying “I’m shaking the hand of a future president.”


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