Nothing says "Labor Day" like a sunny September day, free hot dogs and a rip-roaring tirade from Vermont's very own Sen. Bernie Sanders.
At Sanders' annual Labor Day rally and barbecue Monday afternoon in Burlington's Battery Park, you could have it all. And then some.
"What we are saying today is that this country and the wealth of this country belongs to all of the people and not a handful of billionaires," the finger-wagging, self-described socialist told an approving crowd of a couple hundred fellow travelers.
Sanders' 15-minute stem-winder wrapped up a well-attended event featuring a performance by the Gordon Stone Band, remarks from a slew of Vermont labor leaders and — in true Bernie style — plenty of free food for the masses. Ol' Bernardo's warm-up acts stayed on-message, repeatedly calling him a champion of workers' rights and organized labor's favorite U.S. senator. But about a dozen opponents of the proposed basing of F-35 planes at the Vermont Air National Guard's South Burlington headquarters — which Sanders supports — held signs just off-stage protesting Sanders' stance.
We'll have more on the rally in this week's Fair Game, but for now, we leave you with some crappy iPhone-shot photos of the event:
Strange Bedfellows:When a paparazzi photographer tried to snap a picture of Sanders communing with Republican state auditor candidate Vince Illuzzi (right) and Professional Fire Fighters of Vermont president Matt Vinci, a very agitated senator tried to get out of the shot, asking, "Is this a campaign photo?" To which Seven Days did not exactly know how to respond.
Dishing Up the Slop: Sanders volunteers feeding the masses. One Sanderista said the campaign had served up some 700 hamburgers and hot dogs.
Making the Rounds: Vermont politicians pressed flesh and posed for photos before the program began. From left to right: State Treasurer Beth Pearce, Democratic and Progressive state auditor candidate Doug Hoffer, Sen. Sally Fox (D-South Burlington), Rep. Chris Pearson (P-Burlington), Democratic and Progressive state senate candidate David Zuckerman.
Not Fans: About a dozen F-35 opponents staked out stage right for the duration of the event.
Not Fans II: A few more protester's hung back behind the crowd.