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Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day Weekend is a holiday weekend that celebrates working people, and was born out of a pretty dark time for working Americans. 

Back in the late 1800s, the United States was at the height of the Industrial Revolution, with manufacturing jobs exploding to dominate American employment. Workers of all ages (yup, even kids as young as five) worked seven days a week, up to 12 hours a day in extremely unsafe working conditions, and were still barely able to make a living. Child labor laws weren’t a thing, which is utterly unthinkable now. 

The ones to suffer most were children, the very poor and recent immigrants to the states. Think low wages, little to no access to fresh air, unsanitary facilities, and – no breaks.

Fortunately for the future of our country, labor unions, which first appeared in the late 18th century, were starting to grow and vocalize dissent. Strikes and rallies were organized to revolt against poor working conditions, imploring organizations to agree to reasonable working hours and fair pay. 

As you can imagine, this did not exactly go smoothly. Violence erupted all across the country, but so did long standing traditions. This year, for example, marks the 138th anniversary of New York City’s Labor Day Parade, which actually started as a protest march of 10,000 workers taking unpaid time off to demonstrate their discontent in 1882. Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894.

So, in short, Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. When you think about it, it’s a good time to take pause and pay respect to the courage and resilience of the American workers who came before us.

This year, Labor Day falls on September 7, so if you’re planning to come to Williamsburg, here’s what you can expect this year!

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 4

What: Haunted Williamsburg

Where: Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg

When: 7 -8 p.m., 8:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Haunted Williamsburg is the official ghost tour of Colonial Williamsburg, with exclusive access to historic outdoor spaces that feature costumed storytellers who share 18th-century colonial ghost stories and creepy modern-day encounters. This one-hour candlelit walking ghost tour walks you through town, into gardens, and beyond the barriers to our most haunted sites. The tour begins at the Play House Stage on Palace Green and is suitable for ages 8 and older. All children must be accompanied by an adult. These tours run unless there is severe inclement weather.

What: Movies Under the Stars 

Where: Chickahominy Riverfront Park

When: 8:30 – 10:30 p.m.

Enjoy great box office titles under a starlit night for free! Bring lawn chairs, blankets, snacks, and your favorite people. This Friday, see Frozen 2. Children 12 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, call 757-259-4200. 

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 5

What: Williamsburg Farmers Market 

Where: Duke of Gloucester Street

When: 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Visit the weekly Williamsburg Farmers Market in Market Square for local Virginia products like fresh seasonal produce, meats, seafood, baked goods, honey, cheese, flowers, handmade soaps, and more. Check here for a list of vendors that will be attending the market this week. You also pre-order from vendors here. All orders placed will be available for pickup on Saturday at the Williamsburg Farmers Market. The Market accepts SNAP/EBT, credit cards, and W&M Express.

What: Yorktown Farmers Market

Where: Riverwalk Landing

When: 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Enjoy views of the spectacular York River as you shop local artists, vendors, and food trucks at the waterfront at Riverwalk Landing! 

Shop for seasonal produce; fresh seafood and meats; breads; fresh-cut flowers; handmade soaps and candles; honey; gourmet dog treats; and a beautiful display of work.

COVID-19 Safety Procedures: Important precautions are being taken to keep our customers and vendors safe amidst COVID-19 concerns, including required spacing between vendors and a setup to avoid congestion in typically high-traffic areas. Check here to learn more and to see the list of vendors if you would like to pre-order, prepay or pickup your goods.

What: Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies Exhibit

Where: The Virginia Living Museum

When: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The Tiny Titans exhibit at the Virginia Living Museum is extended through the summer for a “no touch” experience for your safety! Bring the family to learn about how dinosaurs raised their tiny titans. Learn more about this amazing exhibit by reading our post about it here.

What: Live Music at Virginia Beer Company

Where: 401 2nd Street, Williamsburg, VA 

When: 5-7 p.m.

Come out to one of Williamsburg’s favorite breweries for beers and live music!

What: Live Music at Saude Vineyards

Where: 16230 Cooks Mill Road, Lanexa, VA 23089

When: 2-5 p.m.

Stop by and listen to live music* outside while sipping delicious wine and eating awesome BBQ from The Scottish Pig! Find out who is playing this Saturday evening.

*Reservations are not required, and outdoor seating will be offered on a first-come-first-serve basis. Table and chair groupings are spaced 6 feet apart, and staff will be sanitizing frequently!

Monday, September 7

What: Fossil Frenzy Hike

Where: York River State Park, 9801 York River Park Road Williamsburg VA 23188

When: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

About 6,000 years ago, marine life was abundant where the York River flows at the York River State Park. Early whales, porpoises, sharks, clams, scallops, and snails left us clues of their existence in the form of fossils. Hike to a fossil beach at the park to discover traces of these ancient creatures! Reservations for this special free program must be made in advance. To make your reservation, call 757-566-3036.

What: Taste of Busch Gardens

Where: Busch Gardens in Williamsburg

When: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. and 5 – 9 p.m. 

This all-new, limited capacity special event lets guests sip, sample and soar on the 150-acre property that is Busch Gardens® Williamsburg.

Taste a delicious culinary fusion of Food & Wine Festival fan favorites, new twists on traditional park entrées, plus wine tastings and specialty beverages not normally served in the park. This special event will also feature four iconic roller coasters, a log flume ride, and a high flying Screamin’ Swing, that will add to the fun for friends and families. 

In compliance with Virginia’s phase 3 safety guidelines for reopening businesses, Taste of Busch Gardens will operate with enhanced health and safety protocols for cleaning and sanitizing, physical distancing, face covering requirements and temperature screenings. Special event capacity will be extremely limited to create ample space for guests to enjoy their experience, while maintaining physical distance in a safe environment. Reservations can be made by visiting the park’s website.

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