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Happy Labor Day Weekend!

To many, Labor Day means barbecues, parades, pool parties, and the end of summer. Since 1968, Americans have enjoyed three-day weekends on the first Monday of every September. But Labor Day did not come about without a long, passionate fight.

In the late 1800s, during the peak of the Industrial Revolution, many Americans were working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, under grueling conditions that did not include workplace safety, adequate pay, or regular breaks. Even worse, many school age children were also forced into these conditions and earned a fraction of what adults earned. As the voices of labor unions grew louder, so did the demand for improved wages, hours, and working conditions.

It wasn’t until after years of striking and riots that a universal “workingman’s” holiday was signed into effect by President Grover Cleveland on June 28, 1894. Labor Day was moved to the first Monday of September when the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968 was passed to allow federal employees to enjoy three-day weekends.

To honor the hard workers before us and amongst us, Labor Day celebrations include eating good food, spending time with family, and enjoying a hard-earned day off in the outdoors or at special events. This year there are numerous ways to commemorate Labor Day in the Washington, DC area, including:

National Symphony Orchestra: Labor Day Capitol Concert 2019 (Sunday, September 1) Enjoy a free concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol (or if raining, at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall) at 8pm for powerful 90 minute show. The show will be conducted by Steven Reineke and will feature vocals by Mykal Kilgore and Nova Payton, and background vocals by Micah Robinson, Shacara Rogers, and Jillian Willis.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival (Friday, August 30- Monday, September 2) Spend Labor Day at the 65th Greenbelt Labor Day Festival at the Roosevelt Center at 101 Centerway in Greenbelt, MD. All weekend there will be arts exhibits, food and refreshments, live bands and entertainment, amusement rides, and a Labor Day parade on Monday. The event is free but certain rides, exhibits, and refreshments will incur a fee.

2019 National Book Festival (Saturday, August 31) Bookworms will delight at the 19th annual National Book Festival, held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Doors will open at 8:30am and will include appearances from renowned authors and figures such as José Andrés, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Raina Telgemeier, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Barbara Kingsolver.

Labor Day Weekend Music Festival 2019 at Lincoln Theatre (August 31 and September 1) Be entertained by local musicians of different musical styles at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington, DC. The event is free and open to the public, and will showcase the diverse talent of DC musicians.

Great American Pig Out 4 (Sunday, September 1) What’s a better way to spend Labor Day than with a delicious cookout? Head to the American Ice Company for live bluegrass music and a whole roasted pig on the patio from 1-5 for $25. For an additional $25, enjoy all the Lagunitas beer your heart desires.

Reference: https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/labor-day-1

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