Labor Day is your opportunity to give summer one last hurrah before buckling down and getting back to work, school or "normal" life. If you're one of the millions wondering what you should do for fun, we've got lots of ideas for making the most of your weekend without breaking the bank.
1. Hit the Parade
The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City to celebrate the social and economic achievements of the American worker. We've come a long way since, but with a recession in full bloom, there's no better time than now to rally behind American workers. Big cities and small towns alike will be hosting parades. Search the Internet to find a schedule for a parade near you, grab a friend or some family members and celebrate the true meaning of Labor Day.
2. Throw a Horseshoes Tournament
When was the last time you played a good game of horseshoes? There's no time like Labor Day weekend to throw down the gauntlet and challenge friends, family or neighbors to a little game. If you don't have equipment, order a game set for less than $20 at the Web site
, or check your local sporting-goods store. If you need a refresher course, find the rules at
. Treat the winner to a two-scoop ice-cream cone after the game.
3. Throw a Block Party Potluck Barbecue
If you live on a residential street (and not a main thoroughfare), many towns actually encourage you to get to know your neighbors by hosting a block party. The town will shut down traffic on the street during your party, so all can congregate safely. Designate one person from the neighborhood to coordinate with the mayor's office or the police department to set the date and get the rules for the party. Once you have the date set, make sure everyone on the block knows about it and agrees to bring a dish to the party.
4. Have a "Top Chef" Competition
If you live in sweltering climates, or are anticipating bad weather in your area, try throwing a "top chef" competition, with one meal unveiled on each night of the long weekend. Designate three teams consisting of two or three people. Each team is assigned a night, and on that night is responsible for preparing three dishes: an appetizer, a main dish and a dessert. On the last night, everyone casts a vote for the best dish and the best overall meal.
5. Take In An Outdoor Concert
Labor Day and outdoor concerts go hand in hand. There's nothing like closing out summer with a picnic under the stars set to a fantastic live soundtrack. Check the Internet for outdoor concerts in your area.
6. Play A Neighborhood Game of Kick The Can
When was the last time you truly let your hair down and played a good outdoor game like Kick The Can? Round up a group of grownups and kids from your neighborhood and invite them to play. You'll get a good workout and have a lot of fun. If you need a refresher course on the rules, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kick_the_can.
7. Go To A Street Festival
Summer weekends and street festivals go together, too. In honor of the last real weekend of summer, take in a street festival near you. We took a quick look online and found options ranging from a Renaissance festival to a jazz festival, a catfish festival to an African festival.
8. Pick Some Apples
In some areas, the end of summer coincides with apple-picking season. If you live in a state like North Carolina, Virginia, New York or Washington, set aside a few hours on Labor Day weekend to go pick some fresh apples at a nearby farm. If you're feeling adventurous, take some and make a fresh apple pie. Try this great recipe here: allrecipes.com/Recipe/All-American-Apple-Pie/Detail.aspx.
9. Have A Water-Balloon Toss
Every hot Labor Day party should involve a water-balloon toss. It's fun (and refreshing) for kids of all ages. Pair people up and give each pair of players one balloon filled with water. Line up players side-by-side, with their partners facing them. Move the lines away from each other. The last pair with an unbroken balloon wins.
(The writers are co-founders of Buttoned Up, a company dedicated to helping stressed women get organized. Send ideas and questions to yourlife(at)getbuttonedup.com.)
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