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Labor Day: The Origin & Things to Do in KY

Labor Day weekend is around the corner, and it is officially that time to start retiring your white clothing. According to the Time article, “Why Congress Made Labor Day a National Holiday,” the origins of the holiday spring from two political events. The first event, occurring on September 5th, 1882, was a “labor festival” that took place in New York, complete with a parade of different labor unions. During this event, attendees “listened to speeches in support of workers’ rights, and — in lighthearted activities more in the spirit of what goes on today — people drank beer, danced and set off fireworks.”

The second event occurred in Chicago on May 11th, 1894, when George Pullman railway employees went on strike. “In a show of solidarity, the American Railway Union — said to have boasted 150,000 members at the time and led by famous socialist Eugene Debs — refused to operate Pullman train cars, snarling mail delivery and prompting President Grover Cleveland to send in federal troops to break up the strike.” The strike led to rioting and bouts of arson and is supposedly considered “one of the bloodiest episodes in American labor history.”

A few months after these events, Labor Day was declared a national holiday. While the creation of Labor Day may not be sprung from the happiest of origins, these days, Labor Day weekend is a holiday celebrated by most Americans.

This year, Kentucky is abuzz with fun things to do during the long Labor Day weekend:

Image Sourced from KHP

Labor Day Campout Weekend | Aug 29 – Sept 2 | Kentucky Horse Park Campground

Cost: Prices Vary

“Family friendly weekend includes activities such as movie nights, pony rides, complimentary refreshments, and much more.”


Red White & Boom Music Festival | Aug 31 – Sept 2 | Rupp Arena

Cost: Prices Vary

“Red, White and Boom is coming to Rupp Arena for 2018! Fans will have perfect conditions the entire weekend, with the festival now being held indoors. There will be reserved seating, in addition to a general admission pit area with a variety of more affordable ticket prices. Over the course of the three days, there will be 15 artists with five headliners. Two headliners will perform on Friday and Saturday, and one on Sunday.”

Hot Rod Hullabaloo | Sept 1 | 845 Contract St, Lexington, Kentucky 40505

Cost: FREE

“The show is focused on pre-’68 models, but all makes, models and newer vehicles are welcome to attend! There will be live music by Danny Dean and the Homewreckers, Rockabilly DJs, bbq, souvenirs, vendors, Miss Hullabaloo Pageant and the world famous ‘Hoodlum Down Hill Race .’ We expect over 650 vehicles this year! This hot rod get together is absolutely free to participate in! Shelby’s Way will be collecting donations for the cause (Bringing Awareness to Suicide Prevention) as well as selling t-shirts and other merchandise to raise money for the 501c3 non-profit.”

Daniel Boone Pioneer Festival 2018 | Sept 1 – Sept 2 | Winchester-Clark County Parks & Recreation

Cost: FREE

They “will have a wide selection of bourbon barrel home decor and other handmade items.”

Image Sourced from Bluegrass Tours

Horses, Hooch, & History Tour | Sept 1 | Bluegrass Tours

COST: $95PP (4-Pack at $380)

Break out of your stalls this Saturday, for a farewell toast to Summer! Join us for a Tour & Tasting at James E. Pepper Distillery, newly reopened! Included on our tour, you’ll enjoy lunch at Goodfellas Distillery. We’ll finish our afternoon with a guided tour of Sun Valley Farm and learn about the connection between distillery & farm.”

Cave-in Movie Nights | Sept 2 | Carter Caves State Resort Park

COST: $5PP (cash only)

“Join us at Cascade Cave as we throw up the big screen and treat you to a movie presentation right inside the Grand Ballroom of the cave. We provide the entertainment, the drinks, and snacks; you just bring the chairs!” Showing: Jumanji, Welcome to the Jungle