Though Labor Day weekend can often be bittersweet, as it is the end of summer vacation and a welcoming of the next season, it offers one last hurrah for outdoor events, and a great chance to enjoy the paradise that is Minnesota. Here are a couple of ideas to say farewell to the dog days of summer, and hello to the cool breath of autumn.
Here is what people were doing last year: Best Labor Day Celebrations In Minnesota.
Minnesota Renaissance Festival
12364 Chestnut Blvd.
Shakopee, MN 55379
Date: Aug. 30 – Sept. 1, 2014 at 10 a.m.
One of the most popular, and quirkiest, festivals in Minnesota, Ren Fest (as fans call it) is a mix of old time fun, new world interpretations and a whole lot of eating, drinking and dancing, as well as some of the best people watching. Take the whole family, or spend the day with friends. The theme for Labor Day weekend is Silk Road: Discover the Riches, a tribute to magic, fairies and gypsies, complete with belly dancing performances and lessons. There will be plenty to do throughout the weekend, including a fairy house competition where visitors can build their own fairy house, so get there early.
Minnesota and the First World War
200 Tower Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55111
Date: Aug. 30 – Sept. 1, 2014 at 10 a.m. (12 p.m. on Sunday)
The historic site is enjoyable all year round, but when you can tour the grounds under the sun, it’s even better. For the first time, Labor Day weekend will feature a tribute to the “Great War” WWI, which means a mix of history and fun for the whole family. The fort was mobilized during the war to support thousands of troops heading to the Western Front, and you can expect reenactments and military demonstrations throughout the weekend. Step back in time in this beautifully preserved icon of Minnesota’s first days, and leave feeling better about winter: at least you have snow pants, modern heating systems and plenty of hot chocolate to get you through the cold weather.
Minnesota State Fair
Minnesota State Fairgrounds
1265 Snelling Ave. N.
St. Paul, MN 55108
Date: Through Sept. 1, 2014, daily at 6 a.m.
The Great Minnesota Get-Together brings people together from all around the state. Every year, the fairgrounds are flooded with people laughing, eating, enjoying funhouses and rides, and enjoying the last of the warm weather. It’s a great opportunity to get outdoors before the leaves start to change. New foods this year include beer gelato, walleye mac and cheese and much, much more.
Green Giant Corn Feat
1 Valleyfair Drive
Shakopee, MN 55379
Date: Aug. 30 – Sept. 1, 2014 at 11 a.m.
Spend the day outside on ValleyFair’s last day of the season. Ride some of the wildest rollercoasters in the Midwest, or come to enjoy free corn during the Green Giant Corn Feast. That’s right, free corn on the cob is offered for visitors all weekend long, so fill up on corn before (or maybe after) indulging in one of the park’s countless rides. And don’t forget the water park. Once winter hits, you’ll be remised if you didn’t hit that log flume for a splash just one last time.
Big Bugs! And More
13000 Zoo Blvd.
Apple Valley, MN 55124
Date: Through Sept. 1, 2014 at 9 a.m.
The largest zoo in Minnesota always has something interesting to offer visitors of all ages. Spend Labor Day with the Big Bugs! exhibit (which ends on Labor Day) featuring, you guessed it, enormous bugs from around the world, or watch penguin and shark feedings or the Tropical Reed Dive Show. You can spend time inside and out, with hands-on activities and hands-off wild animals. The zoo offers a great time for visitors of all ages, so if you’re out with friends or out for a family trip, it is sure to delight.
Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at Examiner.com, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.