Since 1884, the first Monday in September has been a national holiday in the United States, as a tribute to workers. To most people, Labor Day is above all the last-blast of summer fun and - for many school kids - the last day of freedom before starting school again. If you live or are visiting the Washington DC area this Labor Day Weekend, you will find many activities to keep you entertained.
National Gallery of Art
Friday, September 1: Every Friday evening from May 26 until September 15, 2006 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., many of Washington's top jazz artists present concerts in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden next to the grand reflecting pool in front of the Pavilion Café. The café offers a seasonal light fare menu and cold beverages during these Friday evenings and the Sculpture Garden hours are extended to 9:30 p.m.
Mark Aanderud is the scheduled artist to perform on September 1, 2006. This concert series, held rain or shine, is extremely popular with both local Washingtonians and visitors.
First Friday at Dupont Circle
Friday, September 1: On the first Friday of each month, Dupont Circle area art galleries hold a joint evening open house from 6 - 8 p.m. Also, Dupont Circle houses the area's finest museums, ethnic restaurants and unique shops.
18th Annual DC Blues Festival at the Carter Barron Amphitheatre
Saturday, September 2: The DC Blues Society celebrates New Orleans Music with Marva Wright, Memphis Gold, Junkyard Saints, Robert Lightohouse, Terence McArdle and Jumpin' Tonight, the Westcott Brothers and more. This free afternoon concert will begin at 1 p.m. at the Carter Barron Amphitheatre in Rock Creek Park.
Page-to-Stage New Play Festival at the Kennedy Center
Saturday, September 2 - Monday, September 4: From 2 p.m. - 10 p.m. each day, during this three-day event at the Kennedy Center, more than 35 theaters from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area will perform free readings, special events, and panel discussions to highlight the upcoming 2006-2007 theater season. Most of the events are free while others are at a low ticket cost.
The 36th Annual Labor Day Art Show at Glen Echo Park
Saturday, September 2 - Monday, September 4 - Opening Reception will begin on Friday, September 1 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The popular annual Labor Day Art Show features the work of more than 150 regional artists, created by both children and adults. Artworks for sale include sculpture, paintings, ceramics, glass and jewelry. The free event takes place in the park's Spanish Ballroom from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Additionally, the historic Dentzel Carousel will be operating throughout the show. Glen Echo Park is easily reached by car or by bus, a 12 minute ride from the Friendship Heights Metro station.
Debut of Tiger Cubs at the National Zoo
Saturday, September 2: Three Sumatran tiger cubs, born at the National Zoo on May 24, 2006, will make their public debut at 10 a.m. on September 2, 2006. The National Zoo held a naming contest for the three cubs, which ended on August 21st. The winning names will be announced at the September 2 debut. Zoo goers also will be able to visit Tai Shan's giant panda habitat without obtaining timed passes.
Maryland Renaissance Festival
Saturday, September 2 - Monday, September 4: Open on weekends from August 26 to October 22, this 16th Century styled English village includes craft shops, food booths, pubs, stages, a Jousting Arena and lots of games and medieval fun. During Labor Day weekend, the Jolly Jester, magician Bob Sheets, will present a high-impact act that engages his audience in magic and comedy. Located just off of Route 50 near Annapolis, the Maryland Renaissance Festival is one of the area's most popular annual events and a great choice for Labor Day weekend family fun.
National Symphony Orchestra Labor Day Concert
Sunday, September 3: The annual National Symphony Orchestra Labor Day concert marks the beginning of the Kennedy Center Prelude Festival. The concert, which takes place on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at 8 p.m., is free to the public. In case of inclement weather, the concert will be moved to the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Please call the NSO Summer Concert Hotline at 202-416-8113 after 2:30 p.m. to find out if the performance has been moved.
There is plenty to see and do this Labor Day if you happen to be in the Washington DC area. Luckily, if you are on a budget, many of the events are either free or at a low cost. So, instead of hitting the beach this weekend, bring the family along to a fun filled time at the nation's capitol.