After only a brief taste of returning to school this week, Carroll students are offered one last taste of summer vacation with Labor Day weekend.
As the one of the key signifiers of summer fun — the public pools — close their doors for another season, groups around the state are commemorating the end of summer and celebrating the nation's workers with a series of events.
Maryland State Fair
One of Maryland's biggest draws over the Labor Day weekend is the Maryland State Fair, which finishes up its 11-day run on the holiday itself.
Throughout the week and a half, the fair features midway rides, games, live music, food and more. During Labor Day weekend, it will host a performance by country musician Phil Vassar 7 p.m. Saturday, fireworks 9:30 p.m. Sunday and the United States Air Force Full Spectrum Band from noon to 2 p.m. Labor Day.
Some of the most popular events at the fair include Goat Mountain, where guests can watch goats in their natural habitat; the Swifty Swine Racing and Swimming Pig shows; and the 4-H showcases.
Special events during Labor Day weekend include the seventh annual Arm Wrestling USA/Maryland Classic from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, the Roma Sausage Eating Competition at 3 p.m. Sunday, and the Antique/Classic Vehicle Display taking place from 7 to 10 p.m. Sunday.
Greenbelt Labor Day Festival
Another option for families looking to celebrate Labor Day is the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, currently celebrating its 60th anniversary. The event will take place over Labor Day weekend at the Roosevelt Center in Greenbelt. Much like the state fair, the festival will feature a carnival midway, art show and live music. Unique to the festival are a table tennis tournament from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, horseshoes tournament 9 a.m. Saturday, and Retro Town Fair — which recreates a town fair atmosphere of 1939 — from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday. The event caps off with a Labor Day parade from 10 a.m. to noon and a performance by The Nighthawks from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday.
In addition to the festivals and fairs, Maryland organizations will also be hosting single-day events throughout the weekend.
For people whose biggest regret about the end of summer is the decrease in free-reading time, the Library of Congress is holding the annual National Book Festival from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The event will feature authors including Kate DiCamillo, Judith Viorst, E.L. Doctorow and comic creators Bryan Lee O'Malley, Kyle Baker and Rep. John Lewis. In addition, the festival will feature presentations, a poetry slam and books for sale.
Sunday, Aug. 31
On Sunday night, those looking for a more elegant evening can visit the Labor Day Capitol Concert. The free concert, headed by the National Symphony Orchestra, takes place at 8 p.m. on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol building, with gates opening at 3 p.m. The orchestra will perform a selection of songs relating to pop culture, with music from television, movies and musicals.
To celebrate Labor Day in the style of the first commemorators, families can visit the 76th annual Olde Towne Gaithersburg Labor Day Parade 1 p.m. Monday. The parade features giant balloons, clowns, bands, community groups and more. Free parking will be available in the Olde Towne garage, 112 Olde Towne Ave. The parade is one of the oldest continuous Labor Day celebrations in the state.
History of Labor Day
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the holiday was first celebrated in local communities in 1882 through public parades, speeches and festivals, with the first major celebration occurring in New York City, where 10,000 workers marched in a parade down 42nd Street. It would be five years before Oregon became the first state to establish the commemoration of American workers.
In 1894, Congress passed legislation officially declaring Labor Day a national holiday, celebrated on the first Monday in September. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is the 155.7 million people currently employed in the nation's labor force who are celebrated each Labor Day.