1980 : Presidential Candidate Ronald Reagan and Governor William Milliken Join Allen Park Labor Day Picnic

September 1, 2018 all-day

On September 1, 1980, Emil and Mary Petri hosted a Labor Day picnic to remember. Their guests included Republican Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan and Michigan Governor William Milliken.

In the original Detroit News report, Emil Petri noted that he “had been approached by friends in the Republican party” about hosting the barbecue. The Petris agreed. On the Friday before the party, they learned that Reagan and Milliken would also appear!

Emil was an Allen Park steelworker who had been laid off earlier in the year. The economy was in a downturn, and many of Petri’s neighbors were also unemployed. The blue-collar neighborhood had traditionally been a Democratic stronghold. Reagan listened to the neighbor’s stories as he munched a hot dog and sipped a Stroh’s Light.

Source : “Ronald Reagan at a Backyard Barbecue“, Archives of Michigan Image of the Month page for September, 2005

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