Labor Day is a national tribute to the contributions of those who have worked to build the prosperity of the United States. And in the greater Seattle area, it marks the unofficial conclusion of our academic summer vacation. The holiday, which is celebrated on the first Monday in September, is often known for its fairs and festivals throughout the state. Whether you’re looking for a musical and cultural scene, a smaller venue at the Labor Day Celebration at Woodland Park, carnival rides, berry picking or edge-of-your-seat rodeo action, ways to celebrate this holiday in Seattle abound. From Bumbershoot to blackberries and from rodeos to rock music, there’s a Labor Day venue for every member of the family.
305 Harrison St.
Seattle, WA 98109
Dates: Aug. 30 – Sept. 1, 2014
Held every year in the shadow of the Space Needle, Bumbershoot has been a Seattle Labor Day tradition since 1971 and it’s the city’s longest-lived festival of food, music, culture and art. For 2014, Bumbershoot occurs from August 30 through September 1 and features music, comedy, activities for children, a wide range of food and drink and an indie market. Familiar and up-and-coming musical guests will be performing this year, including Capital Cities, Neon Trees, Luscious Jackson, Foster the People, Wu-Tang Clan, The Replacements and Elvis Costello and the Imposters. Don’t miss the face painting, fair food and wide variety of performances on multiple stages. And for families attending Bumbershoot, there’s also Youngershoot, a family-friendly festival within the festival.
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Labor Day Celebration
Lower Woodland Park Zoo – Shelters 1, 2 & 3
(N. 50th St. & Woodland Park Ave. N.)
Seattle, WA 98103
Date: Sept. 1, 204
Labor Day acknowledges the contributions that workers have made to the prosperity and success of their country – and in Seattle, the Labor Day Celebration at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo is a growing venue. Join the greater Seattle community this Labor Day for a day of fun, friends and food. This year’s celebration features live music from Maia Santell & House Blend. Participants will enjoy, free of cost, face painting, soda, hot dogs, ice cream and a wide array of games. There are raffle prizes, too!
Evergreen State Fair
14405 179th Ave. S.E.
Monroe, WA 98272
Dates: Aug. 21 – Sept. 1, 2014
The Evergreen State Fair runs for 12 days every year, ending on Labor Day, and includes fair food, carnival rides, a rodeo, a parade and themed days. The Fair, which is the Pacific Northwest’s largest county fair, attracts more than 330,000 visitors annually to the fairgrounds’ 194 landscaped and wooded acres. Themed days include Agriculture Day on August 22; the Fair Days Parade on August 23, which features the Ixtapa Equestrian Team, the Sea Fair Pirates and race cars from the Evergreen Speedway; Armed Forces Day on August 29; and Rodeo Day on August 30. New to the Fair this year is the carnival ride “Freak Out,” which rotates in the sky 70 feet in the air and is only for the bravest carnival ride enthusiasts.
Bremerton Blackberry Festival
100 2nd St.
Bremerton, WA 98377
Dates: Aug. 30 – Sept. 1, 2014
Every year, rain or shine, the Bremerton Blackberry Festival is held in the shadow of the Olympic Mountains on the City of Bremerton Boardwalk. The festival, which overlooks Puget Sound, is a memorable venue for delicious food, wonderful music and a wide array of events, including a car show, a fun run and special activities just for children. Blackberry Festival food includes blackberry dessert wine, blackberry syrup, blackberry cobbler and blackberry scones. And if that doesn’t satisfy your sweet tooth, the festival also features cotton candy, funnel cakes, shaved ice with sweet cream and kettlecorn. This year’s musical guests include the Eugenie Jones Quartet, British Beats, Jr. Cadillac and Mia Vermillion.
Kittitas County Fair & Ellensburg Rodeo
609 N. Main St.
Ellensburg, WA 98926
Dates: Aug. 29 – Sept. 1, 2014
Just a 90-minute trip east of Seattle over the mountains, Ellensburg, Washington is the home of the Kittitas County Fair and the Ellensburg Rodeo, which is the second biggest rodeo in the Pacific Northwest after the Calgary Stampede in Calgary, Alberta. The Ellensburg Rodeo, which opened in 1923, is considered to be one of the country’s top 10 rodeos and features barrel racing, bronco riding and bull riding. The rodeo has prize money totaling $400,000 for 600 contestants, who come to Ellensburg to compete from throughout the U.S. and Canada. Enjoy traditional fair food, shop at the Ellensburg Rodeo Shop, watch the rodeo and try a fair ride or two.
Tracy Campion is a freelance writer covering all things Seattle. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.