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Desloge Labor Day Picnic ends four-day event of fun and celebration w/clarification

Longtime Desloge police chief and North County Board of Education president, James “Jebo” Bullock, waves and smiles as he rides on the back of a red convertible during Monday morning’s Labor Day Parade. Photos by Kevin R. Jenkins

Desloge chamber executive director praises weekend as one of its best

Kevin R. Jenkins,

The 2024 Desloge Labor Day Picnic is now one for the history books as the annual event completed its four-day run yesterday in City Park that featured a full weekend of fun, a parade in honor of American labor, carnival games, local and live music, fair food, vendors and more.

This year’s picnic theme was “This Little Town of Mine,” in celebration of the area’s mining heritage. This year’s parade marshal was longtime police chief and North County Board of Education President James “Jebo” Bullock. The police chief was chauffeured in the parade on the back of a beautiful red convertible from which Bullock waved and smiled at the crowd as he passed by. He appeared to be having the time of his life.

The parade, as usual, featured floats, bands, politicians, decorated vehicles, tractors, fire trucks, police cars and, perhaps most importantly, members of various labor unions in the area marching with pride along the winding route that ended at City Park.

Following the parade, the chief was asked about an incident that occurred Friday night at the Labor Day Picnic that resulted in a 5-year-old boy being taken to the emergency room for a checkup and then released later that evening.

“The gist of it was that a couple of intoxicated subjects got into an altercation, and it come to the point where the officer needed to take action. He tased one subject successfully and took him into custody. The second subject was still being combative. They attempted tasing him, and the tasers of course have two probes.

“One probe hit the suspect. The other one missed and deflected off the concrete and broke off of the wire that contains it. And it skipped across and went through one of those fencing-type things for a ride and struck a child. He was taken to the hospital for it to be checked out and then was released immediately.”

According to Bullock, he spoke to the boy’s grandmother about the youngster’s condition and was told the boy was doing fine.

Clarification: Chief Bullock contacted the Daily Journal on Wednesday morning to clarify two statements he made in the story regarding the taser incident that took place on Friday night at the Desloge Labor Day Picnic. “I received some wrong information,” he said. “One of the taser probes hit the suspect, and the second probe deflected off of the pavement and struck the child. The probe did not come loose from the tether. Also, the child was in front of the barrier instead of behind the barrier.”

Asked her thoughts about this year’s Labor Day Picnic, Desloge Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cheri Henderson was exuberant in her praise of the event that is sponsored every year by the civic organization she leads.

“This was one of the best Labor Day picnics I’ve experienced,” she said, smiling. “So many positive things happened. We went from bands to carnival rides to a church service to a Mario Brothers movie in the park. The Mario Brothers played. Families were sitting together on blankets. It was just phenomenal.

“This year, we also had the best food vendors we’ve had. It’s been steady all week. I’ve checked with our vendors, and they are all doing well. It’s all about location, location, location. So, we’ve got some we need to work on, but it’s been fantastic.”

Along with the parade, a highlight of Monday’s activities was a special dedication of the beer garden in honor and in memory of Pete Selzer, who, with his mother, Joy Thurston, accidentally died of carbon monoxide poisoning early last month at the Desloge home they shared. In a brief ceremony, the beer garden was dedicated as the 2023 Pete Selzer Memorial Beer Garden.

Justin Culton spoke about his late friend — whose birthday was coincidentally Sept. 4 — to a large crowd gathered at the amphitheater and the nearby beer garden.

“On Aug. 3rd, our community lost two just absolutely amazing people,” he said. We lost Joy Thurston and Pete Selzer. Joy and Pete were some of my best friends. Pete was my best friend for 25 years of my life, and I really just want to say ‘thank you’ to the Desloge chamber for honoring Pete’s memory in this way with the Pete Selzer Memorial Beer Garden up there. I think everybody’s having a pretty good time.

“So, looking out of this crowd, especially up there, there’s a lot of folks who spent time with Pete. There’s a lot of people who’ve gone out with Pete, a lot of people who’ve partied with Pete, spent time at bars with him. And if you all will remember, you all understand exactly what I’m talking about. Anytime you were out with Pete, and you decided that you wanted to leave, and it was before he was ready to go, he’d always look at you, and he’d say, ‘Well, I’ll be here when you get back.’ And you always just kind of believe that he would be — for whatever reason that was. So, right now, if you’ve got a drink in your hand, I just want to make a little toast to Pete real quick. Here’s to Pete.”

Asked about the dedication, Henderson said, “We were approached by a couple of friends of Pete Seltzer who said they would like to consider doing a toast in his memory. I said, ‘Let me talk to my board of directors, and we got some sponsors to sponsor this. We appreciate Grey Eagle Distributors, the Carpenters Union, Hub’s Pub, Bryant Restoration and Pettis Automotive for sponsoring that toast. What we really were doing was honoring him because he loved the Labor Day Picnic.”

Henderson noted that she and the chamber’s board of directors were already signing up this year’s vendors and bands for the 2024 Labor Day Picnic.

“I have a stack of papers about 3 inches high!” she said.

Justin Culton speaks during a brief dedication ceremony naming the beer garden after his best friend, the late Pete Selzer. Selzer and his mother, Joy Thurston, were accidentally killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in early August.

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