Destination Directory

Cool and Unusual Labor Day Events

Labor Day ... It might just be everyone's favorite first Monday of the month. If your groups are looking for more than a picnic to celebrate the end of summer, they're in luck. Below is just a smattering of Labor Day and Labor Day Weekend festivals and events. Some are cool. Some are cool and—we'll admit it—a bit unusual. All are noteworthy, however, so if you're ever looking for Labor Day activities or festivities to fill an itinerary, keep these annual events in mind.

A cultural powwow.

Every Labor Day weekend, the Choctaw Nation invites all visitors to an intertribal powwow at Tvshika Homma, Oklahoma, the capital of the Choctaw Nation. In addition to tribal heritage activities, the Choctaw Nation Labor Day Festival also include cultural exhibitions, stickball games, arts and crafts, free concerts, carnival rides, buffalo tours and more.

Just a man and his coon dog.

In Tuscumbia, Alabama, there lies a quiet cemetery for some 300 certified coon dogs. Only authentic coon dogs are allowed to be buried at the Key Underwood Memorial Coon Dog Cemetery, but everyone is welcome to join the annual Coon Dog Cemetery Labor Day Celebration. Each year, individuals gather for music, food and fellowship in tribute of the coon dogs and those who loved them.

No need to visit the East Coast for East Coast eatin'.

Every year, live lobsters are flown in fresh from the cold waters of the East Coast and delivered to Chicago, Illinois', Navy Pier for the Great American Lobster Fest. In addition to delicious seafood cuisine, the festival boasts live music performances, games, craft shopping, cold beverages and land food options.

There she is, Miss Crustacean.

The National Hard Crab Derby is a unique crab-themed festival in Crisfield, Maryland, and home of the National Hard Crab Derby. Decades ago, watermen brought their feistiest live crabs to race in the street in front of the town's post office. Today, people from all over the Mid-Atlantic region visit to see some 400 blue crabs compete. The annual event also features crab cooking and picking contests, carnival rides, arts and crafts, vendors, live entertainment, fireworks, a parade, and the "Miss Crustacean Pageant."

This isn't Mrs. Butterworth's.

Sorghum cane is typically harvested during September and October, so there's no better time to celebrate than Labor Day. The Homestead Heritage Traditional Craft Village at Brazos de Dios in Waco, Texas, hosts the Labor Day Sorghum Festival every year, offering a chance for attendees to watch what it takes to make sweet sorghum syrup—from pressing the raw cane using a horse-powered mill to cooking the juice into a rich, golden brown syrup. The event also offers horse-drawn hayrides, demonstrations of fine handcrafts, music, freshly cranked ice cream and plenty of sorghum syrup sampling (on freshly-baked cornbread made from stoneground cornmeal).

The final rodeo.

Meeteese, Wyoming, has been celebrating Labor Day Weekend for over 100 years. It all began when a man named Josh Deane wanted to celebrate all the hard work of his community. Ranchers donated some beef, cooks cooked for a few days, and everyone hit the rodeo. The tradition lives on with games, food, entertainment, a craft fair and parade, and the final rodeo in the Big Horn Rodeo Circuit.

Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for Groups Today.

Photo courtesy of the Crisfield Chamber of Commerce / The National Hard Crab Derby.


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