Labor Day is the unofficial end of the summer season in Cleveland and northeast Ohio, and while many students have already gone back to school in late August, this three-day weekend welcomes a host of culturally-diverse events to the area. Activities from the Cleveland National Air Show to Oktoberfest to one of the country's largest flea markets are great for families to enjoy before settling in for the rigorous pace of the autumn season.
Make sure to book your accommodations in advance, as hotels and places to stay are likely to be filled as the holiday weekend approaches. Also, check each event's official website or social media page for up-to-date information about possible cancellations and new health guidelines.
Shop Around at the Hartville Marketplace & Flea Market
If you are looking to have some fun hunting for unique items at a nice price, and don't mind crowds of over 30,000 people, check out the more than 1,000 outdoor vendors sharing their wares at the Hartville Marketplace & Flea Market. Said to be the largest outdoor and indoor flea market in the country, it's worth a visit, whether you seek some fresh tomatoes and apples or a vintage collectible for your home.
The market is open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hartville is located about an hour outside of Cleveland, but this market that started in 1939 as a livestock auction is one of the most popular attractions in the Cleveland metropolitan area.
New guidelines were put into place in 2020 to keep vendors and guests safe, including limits on the number of people who are allowed to enter at a time, expanded distancing between booths, sanitation stations, and obligatory use of face masks.
Connect With Nature at Farmpark
About 25 minutes outside of Cleveland in Kirtland is Farmpark, a science and cultural center that is focused on all things agricultural. You can learn about bees at the apiary; watch border collies herd the livestock; learn about planting seasons; and see cows, pigs, goats, alpacas, and more in the barnyard. One of the biggest attractions during Labor Day weekend is the three-acre corn maze, included with the price of FarmPark admission. It's open until October 18, 2020, so even if you can't make it for Labor Day, you have time to go back in the fall.
The park is open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Look to the Sky for the Cleveland National Air Show
The Cleveland National Air Show is canceled in 2020.
The Cleveland National Air Show is held each Labor Day weekend along the shores of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland at Burke Lakefront Airport. The air show combines educational exhibits with thrilling fly-bys and tactical demonstrations by air teams, which often include the famous "Blue Angels." Started in 1964, the event has since become one of the city's favorite Labor Day traditions.
Get Cultural at the St. John Cantius Polish Festival
The St. John Cantius Polish Festival is scaled back in 2020 and is only for parishioners.
The south-central Cleveland neighborhood of Tremont has a rich Polish heritage, and the St. Cantius' Catholic Church celebrates its history and traditions every year over Labor Day weekend at the St. John Cantius Polish Festival. Festivities include traditional Polish food, dance, and music performances as well as kids' activities and a variety of craft goods for sale. The festival is free to attend.
Drink Beer at Oktoberfest Cleveland
Oktoberbest in Cleveland is canceled in 2020 and returns September 3–6, 2021.
Cleveland's Oktoberfest is an annual celebration of German food, polka music, dance, and Bavarian arts and crafts held in Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds in Middleburg Heights. The event is full of fun, from its wiener dog races to a microbrew competition. Unlike other Oktoberfest celebrations, Cleveland's mixes in American traditions like a classic car show, a juried art exhibit, a cornhole tournament, and even an Eagles tribute band.
Enjoy La Dolce Vita at Saint Rocco's Festival
St. Rocco's Festival is canceled in 2020.
The five-day St. Rocco's Festival, which has been held for over 100 years at the largest Italian-centered parish on the West Side, is full of unique activities and a wide menu of Italy's beloved cuisine, from lasagna to cannoli. The free event features live entertainment, a casino, rides, and games—and it's one of the few places to try a greasy pole climb.
Enjoy the Hungarian Festival
The Hungarian Festival is canceled in 2020 and returns on September 5, 2021.
The Hungarian Festival, presented by the American Hungarian Friends of Scouting, is a full day's event entertaining Cleveland with live Hungarian music and folk dancers for over 60 years. The festival is held at German Central Park in Parma. Arts and crafts are free for kids, and people of all ages can enjoy the games and activities, including a raffle. They also serve up the central European country's cuisine like chicken paprikash, stuffed cabbage, fresh sausages, crepes, and more.
Listen to Cleveland Pops Orchestra Summer Concerts
The Cleveland Pops Orchestra Summer Concerts are canceled in 2020.
If your family is craving a musical experience this summer, check out the diverse Summer Pops concerts for audiences of all ages, hosted by local city and nonprofit organizations. The concerts are held at Severance Hall in the University Circle neighborhood of Cleveland, and Playhouse Square, a theater district in Cleveland's downtown. Subscriptions and group discounts are available, and some shows are free.
Support Locals at the Made in Ohio Art & Craft Festival
The Made in Ohio Festival is canceled in 2020 and returns September 3–5, 2021.
You'll find some fun and creative inspiration at the Made in Ohio Art & Craft Festival on Labor Day weekend. Over 160 Ohio artisans such as potters, carvers, jewelry makers, glass artists, soap and lotion wizards, and quilters will be on hand. The event also features craft demonstrations, food from local restaurants, and entertainers, all in Bath, about a 35-minute drive from Cleveland. The festival is held at Hale Farm & Village, an outdoor, living history museum with a 19th-century backdrop that's been around for more than 50 years.
Let Loose at the Great Geauga County Fair
The Great Geauga County Fair may be canceled in 2020. Check the official event webpage and local news for the most up-to-date information.
The Great Geauga County Fair is held at the Geauga County Fairgrounds in Burton over Labor Day weekend each year and has been delighting residents since 1823. The five-day event features livestock, live entertainment, a midway of rides, and lots of fair food, just to name a few attractions. The events feature over 13,000 exhibits, 2,000 animals, and daily music performed by the Geauga County Fair Band.