If you want to make Labor Day special, there are at least three approaches to take. One, you can spend a quiet weekend at home, treating it as a generic holiday and stressing togetherness and family. Two, you can go to a more public event or public celebration of the holiday. Three, you can engage in activities that fit the theme of Labor Day specifically, perhaps with an educational slant. Let’s look at each of these possibilities:
* Family Time *
It’s something of a cliché to plan a barbecue for a summer holiday, but the reason it’s so ordinary-sounding and so common is precisely because it’s a good idea that almost always is a positive experience.
Of course your cookout can be as simple or elaborate as you choose. It can be your immediate family only, in your backyard, with burgers and hot dogs and only a few items. Or it can be a family reunion or neighborhood get together with 20 or 30 or 50 people, at a park or at the beach, with an elaborate gourmet menu and numerous organized fun activities like sack races and water balloon wars.
If not a barbecue, here’s another random idea for a fun and meaningful way to make good use of the time off from work and school: Is there an elderly member of your family that lives with you or nearby that you could visit on the holiday? You’d have to prepare this in advance, but how about putting together a video of the person’s life, making use of decades of photos, home movies, contemporary interviews with the person and other family members, etc.? It could be anywhere from a five minute photo montage set to music, to a multi-hour production with a myriad of clips and special effects and everything. Then use Labor Day as the occasion to gather the family together and screen it for the person for the first time.
* Public Events *
If you like to be out and about for the holiday, there is no shortage of events and celebrations going on around the country on Labor Day weekend. Here are a few examples:
If you are in the Los Angeles area, Labor Day weekend events include the Los Angeles Country Fair, the Long Beach Blues Festival, the Fiesta Hermosa arts and crafts festival in Hermosa Beach, the Cinecon Classic Film Festival, and the Long Beach Greek Festival, among many others.
In Denver, there’s the four day Taste of Colorado event, which features not only all the wonderful food from local bakers, caterers, and restaurateurs (with lots of free samples), but six separate stages for live entertainment.
In and around Washington, DC, you can choose from an eclectic array of possibilities, such as the Labor Day Concert at the U.S. Capitol, a Renaissance Festival in Crownsville, Maryland, the Olde Towne Gaithersburg (Maryland) Labor Day Parade, the Virginia Scottish Games in Alexandria, and a Beatles Tribute Festival in Gaylord National Resort in Maryland.
Also worth considering are the special holiday scenic train rides offered by dozens of passenger trains around the country. The Mt. Hood Railroad Labor Day Weekend Carnival Extravaganza in Oregon is one of many examples, featuring not only a train ride through the beautiful scenery of Mt. Hood, but a carnival area with amusement park rides, food, and games.
* Labor Day Specific Themed Events *
If you want to get into the spirit of what the holiday is really all about, there are many things to do. Among them:
Sponsor a talk at your public library by a professor from a local college or an official from a labor union who can speak on the history of the labor movement in the United States.
Stage a costume party for the kids where they all dress up in “work-related” outfits (a doctor’s scrubs, a mail carrier’s uniform, a ballerina outfit, etc.).
Set aside one of the days of the week preceding Labor Day as the day to take your son or daughter to work with you to experience what your work day is like. Perhaps on Labor Day itself, they could offer a presentation, or more informally just talk about what they thought of that day.
We’ve barely scratched the surface here. If you want to make the Labor Day weekend special, it’s really not hard at all to come up with plenty of ideas.