Labor Day: Fun Facts, Travel Tips, Picnic Fare & That Rule on White

The first Monday in September is reserved for recognizing the social and economic achievements of American workers. It’s also a last hurray of summer, as family members and friends take part in this latest hot-weather trip, party, or other special event. Here are some fun Labor Day facts and suggestions on how to make the most of the holidays.

How it started

Labor Day Observation evolved at the end of the 19th century, in the midst of the industrial revolution, as activists called for a holiday to celebrate the contributions of workers to the strength and prosperity of the nation.

Before becoming a federal holiday, Labor Day was recognized by the states. New York was the first to introduce legislation, but Oregon was the first to pass a law recognizing Labor Day on February 21, 1887, followed that year by Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. By the end of the decade, Connecticut, Nebraska and Pennsylvania had followed suit. In 1894, 23 other states joined.

On June 28, 1894, Congress passed a law, and subsequently enacted by President Grover Cleveland, making the first Monday in September in each year a federal holiday.

Who gets the credit?

Two men with similar names have been credited with offering vacations for the workers.

Some documents show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, suggested in 1882 that a day be set aside to honor laborers “who by nature rude excavated and sculpted all the greatness we see.

Another view, reinforced by recent research, says that machinist Matthew Maguire proposed the holiday the same year while he was secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York City.

The pair didn’t appear to be complaining about credit – both attended the country’s first Labor Day parade in New York City in 1894.

The three Ps

Labor Day is traditionally celebrated with these three Ps: parades, picnics and parties.

Sadly, Pittsburgh Labor Day has been canceled for the second year, due to lingering pandemic concerns. But that still leaves picnics and parties.

Here are other popular ways to spend the long weekend:

• To swim

• Day trips

• Shopping for Labor Day

Prepare a picnic

If your Labor Day plans include a good old-fashioned picnic, here are seven of the best foods (or six foods and a drink) to take out, according to the National day calendar:

• Fried chicken

• Pasta salad

• Stuffed eggs

• Watermelon

• Sandwiches

• Lemonade

• Brownies

Travel trends

The Labor Day weekend has traditionally been a prime time to travel, but this year, to travel or not to travel has been the question. According to Condé Nast Traveler, many Americans have kept this year’s Labor Day plans flexible, due to uncertainty over the spread of the delta variant.

“There has been a lot of interest this summer in travel,” said Jim Garrity, director of public affairs for AAA East Central. “People are a little more cautious due to changing regulations and the virus situation, but our summer travel booking numbers rival 2019, so people are eager to get back on the road and travel. again.”

Travel data company Arrivalist has predicted a 1% drop in the number of Americans hitting the road this weekend, from 2020, amid the pandemic, and a 10% drop from 2019.

Trip Advisor reported a trend in early August in last minute travel bookings. The trend emerged last year in response to an increase in refundable and flexible booking options.

Trip Advisor also reports that most Americans are traveling within the country this year (perhaps out of necessity), as reports that 90% of summer travel is in private vehicles.

Wearing white

The old fashion rule was that white clothing was only appropriate between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The evolution of this rule is subject to debate, according to Southern Living. Obviously, lighter colored clothes are cooler than darker clothes during the summer heatwave.

One theory says that wearing white was a marker of class distinction. City dwellers wore dark clothing to hide the urban dirt they picked up on the move. The rich, who could afford to spend the summer in the countryside, wore white to indicate their social status.

In the 1950s, the rule was touted by fashion magazines and became popular with the middle class, although not everyone was on board. French fashion designer Coco Chanel notoriously wore white all year round.

Today it’s more a question of fabric than color. Labor Day is the time to put away your white cottons and bring out your white wools.

As fashion designer Michael Kors tweeted in 2013, “Ignore the old rules. White after Labor Day is glamorous.

Go out and celebrate

Still looking for something to do this last official summer weekend? Here are last-minute options for music, family entertainment, food, fall decorating shopping, and more.

Allegheny County Music Festival: Popular Pittsburgh group The Commonheart headlines the annual festival, along with the Funky Fly Project, Meeting of Important People and Sierra Sellers. The music will begin at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Hartwood Acres Park Amphitheater.

Food trucks and Hop Farm Brewing Co. will be on site from 6 p.m.

A suggested donation of $ 20 per car and a 50-50 raffle to benefit the Allegheny County Music Festival Fund, which helps children and youth receiving services through the Department of Social Services and the Juvenile Section of the Family Division of the Court of Common Pleas.


Arts and Crafts Labor Day: The 28th annual event promises approximately 200 indoor and outdoor exhibits at the Westmoreland Fairgrounds in the Township of Mt. Pleasant. The hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday.

Vendors will offer floral designs, embellished clothing, scented candles, jewelry, soft carvings, functional and decorative wood, pet supplies, seasonal home decorations, ceramics, flags, drinks for adults, prepackaged and ready-to-eat gourmet foods.

The festival also offers live music and activities for children.

Admission is $ 6.50, $ 6 for 65 and over, $ 3 for 12-15.


Heinz Field Kick-off and Rib Festival: The five-day festivities continue from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. today and from noon to 7 p.m. Monday at the Pittsburgh Steelers home on the North Side of Steel City.

The extravagance includes food, music, rides and games, a Steelers experience, and appearances by Steely McBeam.

Free entry; some items require paid tickets.


United union celebration: The Westmoreland County Department of Parks and Recreation celebrates “the proud tradition of work in Western Pennsylvania” with the annual two-day event at Northmoreland Park in Allegheny Township. The hours are from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday.

The festivities include live music, the Zerbini family circus, bingo, the arts and crafts market, and the flea market with over 150 vendors.

Parking and entry are free. Purchase of the $ 4 Day Activity Pass includes unlimited access to the Midway Rides, Petting Zoo, Horse-Drawn Wagon Rides, Circus, Kid’s Train Rides, inflatable houses and other activities.


Shirley McMarlin is a writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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