Things to Do

Where & When: Labor Day Weekend Edition

To make sure you get the most out of your holiday weekend, we’ve compiled a list of the hottest Labor Day events throughout the Washington area

Travel back in time at the Maryland Renaissance Festival—and maybe catch a jousting match or two. From left to right, photographs by Flickr users Pete Toscano and Jeff Kubina

It’s Labor Day Weekend, which means there’ll be an abundance of patriotic festivals. But for those of you looking to shake things up a bit, we’ve discovered a Beatles-inspired music tribute, skateboard competition, and the Glen Echo art show. So be sure to soak up everything this three-day weekend has to offer!

Thursday, September 1
The world’s largest Beatles-inspired musical festival is trading Abbey Road for the Gaylord National Harbor. Dozens of bands will pay homage to the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and—of course—the Beatles. Click here to check out the schedule. For tickets (starting at $15), go to the event Web site. (September 1 to 5).

THEATER: Fly to Neverland without ever leaving your seat during tonight’s performance of Peter Pan at the Wolf Trap. The timeless classic stars Tony Award winner and former Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby. Tickets ($20 to $80) can be purchased at the event Web site. Tonight’s show begins at 8 PM. (September 1 to 5).

FROZEN YOGURT: It may be the first of September, but as Washingtonians know all to well, the temperatures won’t be dropping anytime soon. So stop by the grand opening of the Leesburg Pinkberry (1606 Village Market Blvd.) for free frozen treats. 6 to 10 PM.

Friday, September 2
Come support DC’s favorite baseball team during the Washington Nationals’ Grand Slam Weekend. For just $5, fans can see them play the Mets on Friday or the Dodgers on Monday. Plus, the first 10,000 fans at Monday’s game will take home patriotic T-shirts. Tickets can be purchased at the event Web site. Friday’s game starts at 7:05 PM, Monday’s game is at 1:05 PM.

MUSIC: DC’s most popular indie rock venue, The Black Cat, is celebrating its 18th birthday tonight. The music-filled anniversary party will feature performances by The Max Levine Ensemble, Garland of Hours, Oh So Peligroso, and Booze Riot, to name a few. For tickets ($5), go to the event Web site. Doors open at 8 PM.

FESTIVAL: The Greenbelt Labor Day Festival has been held every day since 1955, and this year’s celebration is jam-packed with family favorites. Stop by the Roosevelt Center for a weekend of amusement rides, carnival games, live music, art exhibits, a talent show, and more. Admission is free; food and drink can be purchased at the fair grounds.

Saturday, September 3
Hear ye, hear ye! Travel back in time at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. With jousting, giant turkey legs, knights in shining armor, and artisans, sixteenth century buffs won’t leave disappointed. Tickets ($9 children, $16 seniors, and $19 adults) can be purchased at the door. The festival runs through Labor Day, with additional days throughout the month.

BLUES FESTIVAL: The DC Blues Festival is back for it’s 23rd year, with performances by Preston Shannon, Grady Champion, Anthony “Swamp Dog” Clark, Nadine Rae, and more. Plus, pint-sized jazz prodigies can enjoy vocal and harmonica workshops, a petting zoo, and a musical play area. Stop by the Carter Barron Amphitheatre any time between noon and 7:30 PM. Free.

SKATEBOARDING: Professional skaters from around the world are soaring into Washington for the Maloof Money Cup Skate Contest. Drop by the RFK Stadium to watch the remaining contestants skate their way to the top. Tickets ($15) can be purchased through Ticketmaster. Today’s events begin at 9 AM; The competition runs through September 4.

THEATER: It’s the first day of the Kennedy Center’s tenth annual Page-to-Stage Festival. For three days, more than 40 local theater companies will offer free readings and open rehearsals to the public. Best of all, it’s free! Click here for the program’s schedule. Today’s can’t-miss previews begin at 1 PM (September 3 to 5).

SAILING: Annapolis Race Week returns today with three days of races, on-shore tent parties, and live entertainment. Last year, more than 1,200 sailors took part in the regatta. Party passes can be purchased by registering here. Today’s event start at 8 AM. (September 3 to 5).

MUSIC: Country music sensation Blake Shelton is performing at the Maryland State Fair tonight. He’s racked up three consecutive number one singles, along with the 2010 CMA “Male Vocalist of the Year” Award. You can sample some of his tracks here. Tickets ($42.50) include admission to the fair and can be purchased at the event Web site. 7 PM.

SCOTTISH FESTIVAL: Break out the kilts for this year’s Virginia Scottish Games Festival at Great Meadow. In true Scottish fashion, there will be bagpipe performances, highland dancing, Scottish dog events, heavyweight competitions, Celtic treasures, and more. Tickets ($5 children, $20 adults) can be purchased at the gate. The festival runs through September 4.

Sunday, September 4
Every year, the National Symphony Orchestra perform a free Labor Day concert at the Capitol. Conductor Steven Reineke will lead the orchestra in “Legends of Washington Music,” a tribute to John Philip Sousa, “Duke” Ellington, and Chuck Brown. Gates open at 3 PM; Performance begins at 8. Editor’s note: In the event of rain, the concert will move to the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall.

BARBECUE: Labor Day weekend just wouldn’t be the same without barbecue and drinks.
Rest assured, the Park at Fourteenth is hosting a cookout with entertainment by DJ Life and Secret Society. Enjoy complimentary hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, and Ciroc drinks from 6 to 8 PM. The event is from 6 PM to 3 AM, but admission is free until 9.

Monday, September 5
Start your Labor Day off on the right note—wine and music notes, that is—at the Herndon Labor Day Festival. Enjoy live performances, cooking demonstrations, craft vendors, and tastings galore. A handful of breweries and wineries will be there, including Victory, Chateau Morrisette, Williamsburg Winery, and Port City. Admission ($15 for wine and beer tastings, $10 for entrance only) can be purchased at the event. Noon to 6 PM.

PARADE: Take the whole family out to Gaithersburg’s 73rd Annual Labor Day Parade. The celebration will feature a procession of high school marching bands, fire engines, dance groups, horses, clowns, and more. Beginning at noon, a shuttle bus will be available between the Lakeforest Shopping Center and Gaithersburg Elementary School. Free; 1 to 3 PM.

ART: The Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture presents the 41st Annual Labor Day Art Show. The exhibition will feature work from more than 250 regional artists of all skill levels. Most of the artwork will be on sale. Free; noon to 6 PM.

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