Fashion-conscious fanatics know it as the last day of the year to wear white, and retailers applaud it as one of the biggest annual sale weekends. Pronounced an official holiday in 1887, Labor Day’s original purpose was to honor the contributions of the American worker. Today, residents of the Philadelphia area not only consider this September weekend the last hurrah at Jersey Shore beaches, the end of summer break and the beginning of hitting the books again — it’s also a celebration bursting with fireworks, music fests, food and fun. So squeeze out the last days of summer at these top Labor Day events in and around Philly.
Budweiser Made In America Festival
Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Date: Saturday, Aug. 30 – Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014
This is the third consecutive year that the Budweiser Made in America Festival will send crowds into a frenzy in Philadelphia. Get ready for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to come alive as headliners Kanye West and Kings of Leon rock the night away. Stacks of amps will reverberate as Pharrell Williams, Steve Akoi, The National, Tiesto and more than 30 other great musicians perform throughout the two-day music fest. Besides shows on three stages, concert goers will be able to take their pick from the food truck area, beer gardens and merchandise tents. Tickets for the dual-day event are available at Ticketmaster and run from $100 to a whopping $500 per person.
Spruce Street Harbor Park
Columbus Blvd & Spruce St
Date: Through Monday, Sept. 1
With tears and beer, we say goodbye to Philly’s super-popular pop-up park, Spruce Street Harbor. Enjoy your fun in the sun on the Delaware River while you still can! Oh, and on Saturday, don’t forget to check out the first-ever Art Star Pop-up craft market at the park.
Fireworks & Fountains Show
1001 Longwood Road
Kennett Square, PA 19348
Date: Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014 at 8:15 p.m.
The Fireworks & Fountain Show at Longwood Gardens has become a Labor Day weekend staple. Few events spell the beginning and end of summer better than glittering firework displays. Couple breathtaking bursts of color and fantastic fountains of light over a lush garden setting with Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony, and, well, you’re in for a real treat! Tickets cost $38 for ages 16 and older and $22 for ages 15 and younger.
Jazz It Up Wine Festival
Allaire State Park
4625 Atlantic Ave.
Wall Township, NJ 07727
Date: Saturday, Aug. 30 – Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014 from noon to 5 p.m.
The Jazz It Up Wine Festival features two days of Labor Day events. Savor the last days of summer at the lush Allaire State Park, where visitors can tour historic Allaire Village, hike miles of walking trails or climb aboard the Pine Creek Railroad for a loop around the park. Sample wine from local vineyards and enjoy live jazz music at this beautiful setting. One-day general admission purchased in advance is $20 per person, $25 at the gate. The two-day pass is $40, and guests under age 21 are free.
Labor Day at Franklin Square
6th & Race Sts.
Pay as you go
Date: Saturday, Aug. 30 – Monday, Sept. 1 from noon to 3 p.m.
Spend Labor Day at a family-friendly fair in historic Franklin Square. In addition to fun on the playground, rides on the carousel, snacks from Squareburger and mini-golf, expect carnival games and the Lightning Bolt Express Train.
Labor Day Festival
9130 Academy Rd
$6 for one day, $9 for two day pass, and $11 for three day pass (Children under 12 are FREE)
Date: Saturday, Aug. 30 – Monday, Sept. 1
Get an early start on Oktoberfest at this annual German-American’ park’s Labor Day Festival. Chow down on German food and imbibe German beers, and enjoy raffles, kid’s entertainment, music and more.
Labor Day Weekend at Chaddsford Winery
632 Baltimore Pike
$10 wine tastings
Date: Friday, Aug. 29 – Monday, Sept. 1 from 12 – 6 p.m.
Enjoy three days of festive fun at Chaddsford Winery! There will be live music, food trucks, wine tastings, wines and slushies by the glass from an outdoor bar, and wine picnic items up for sale.
Labor Day Weekend Moonlight Cruise
123 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Date: Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014 at 10 p.m.
Sail aboard the Spirit of Philadelphia for a Labor Day to remember. DJ Touchtone and Lady B. host the hottest nightclub on the Delaware River. For $36.90 per person, you get a waterfront dinner featuring chips and salsa, chicken wings, baked ziti, build-you-own cheesesteak, pretzel bites and dessert. You can’t beat the price for great food, great music, dancing and fabulous views of Philadelphia’s historic waterfront.
Related: Top Fall Festivals In Philadelphia
Labor Day Weekend at the NCC
National Constitution Center
525 Arch St
FREE with museum admission
Date: Friday, Aug. 30 – Monday, Sept. 2
Take a trip back in American history this Labor Day weekend at the NCC. Explore Revolutionary trades like printing an candle-making, try on period costumes and learn more about notably early Americans such as Philly’s own Ben Franklin.
Polish-American Family Festival & Country Fair
National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa
654 Ferry Rd
12 – 8 p.m., $12 per person
Date: Saturday, Aug. 30 – Monday, Sept. 1 (also on Sept. 6 & 7)
Doylestown’s annual Polish Fest returns this Labor Day with food (kielbasa and golabki and pierogies, oh my!), exhibits, entertainment, dance ensembles, live music, magic shows, a crafters village and so much more! Take the whole family out to this one.
Sesame Place Labor Day BBQ
100 Sesame Road
Langhorne, PA 19047
Date: Sunday, Aug. 31 – Monday, Sept. 1, 2014 at 5 p.m.
Easy on the wallet, family-friendly events will put smiles on your kids’ faces at Sesame Place on Labor Day weekend. The Langhorne amusement park will host a massive outdoor barbecue in Big Bird’s Pavilion. After filling up on burgers, hot dogs, chicken, pulled pork, brisket and all of the traditional sides, feast your eyes on a spectacular fireworks display as sparkling colors illuminate the night skies to Sesame Street tunes familiar to us all. Tickets cost $27 for ages 10 and older, $17 for ages two through nine and free for tikes 23 months and younger.
Want more Labor Day events? Check out our list of what’s happening at the Jersey Shore this Labor Day!
Susan DeFeo has been a professional writer since 1997. She served as a community events columnist for New Jersey’s “Cape May County Herald” for more than a decade. A writer for numerous online publications, Susan has covered health, fitness, beauty and travel, all subjects that are near and dear to her as a married mother of seven children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.