ROBBINSDALE, Minn. (KMSP) - The Labor Day tradition continues for one Robbinsdale family with 50 years of food, fun, and a massive party in their back yard -- all for the sake of bringing family and friends together.
Each Labor Day, a backyard on Chowen Avenue turns into what's called “The Other Minnesota Get Together.” The food selection comes pretty close to the Minnesota State Fair.
“One year we did live lobster, we had lobster shipped in,” Winnie Hile said.
Since 1965, Paul and Winnie Hile started inviting a few friends and neighbors. Then each year, the list kept growing and growing. By the time their two daughters got to college, the party started averaging 160 people and turned into a full-blown family affair.
“There was no way we were going to get out of this without fail, my sister got out of it one time because she was an exchange student in Germany,” daughter Jennifer Mcatamney said.
As a former union guy in the packaging business, Mr. Hile knows the significance of Labor Day – “people's hard work is what this celebrates."
And part of this day is also about having fun. The party has new theme each year with creative hand-crafted invitations. This year, there’s a Hawaiian theme.
Neighbor John Dooley said their generosity is unparalleled.
“As long as they can still carry the keg down the steps, and make the invitations, it's going to come,” Dooley said. “It's going to keep coming.”
But for the Hile's who are now in their 70's, watching everyone come together is the payoff for them and keeps the party going.
“Particularly at our age, we're starting to lose friends,” they said. “And so the value of our friends has increased exponentially. And we really kind of understand how important those friendships are.”
The Hile's aren't even close to being done with the partying, but are in the process of coming up with a succession plan because their children live out of state. They're hoping neighbors eventually step up to keep this tradition going, for at least another 50 years.