For many people in the United States, Labor Day weekend marks the end of summer vacation and the final opportunity for a family getaway before school starts. If you're visiting the St. Louis area this Labor Day, there are plenty of festivals and events to celebrate.
From the Big Muddy Blues Festival to the last chance to go swimming at public pools before they close for the fall and winter, there are numerous fun options for Labor Day in Missouri. If you plan to stay a little longer, the weekend holiday also kicks off the September and fall events calendars in St. Louis, meaning you'll have many more moments to celebrate even if you miss the Labor Day festivities.
For those who love food, especially homemade pastries, the St. Louis Greek Festival in the Central West End is a must on Labor Day weekend. For over 100 years, this annual event has attracted thousands of visitors who enjoy music, dancing, and some beloved Greek food. The event kicks off Friday night with a special celebration in the beer garden, then continues through Labor Day. The festival takes place at the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in St. Louis.
If you like chicken wings, check out the Midwest Wingfest from Friday through Saturday of Labor Day weekend. This free event (other than alcohol) offers dozens of gourmet and hot wings varieties to sample, plus a wing eating contest, a 5K run, and a car cruise. Midwest Wingfest is held in the east parking lot of St. Clair Square Mall in Fairview Heights, Illinois, not far across the state line.
Labor Day weekend means the last days of extended hours at the Saint Louis Zoo in Forest Park on Friday through Monday for Summer Zoo Weekends. Friday evening includes the final Jungle Boogie concert of the season at Schnuck Family Plaza. On Saturday and Sunday, visitors can attend a sea lion show and various other activities.
The Great Godfrey Maze opens each year on Labor Day weekend in Robert E. Glazebrook Park in Godfrey, Illinois. The 7-acre maze is a tradition in the Metro East and makes for a great day of fun for families. In addition to the maze, there are hayrides, a cow train, a zip line, corn slides, and other activities for the kids. On Labor Day weekend, you can also enter the maze after dark, but you'll have to bring or purchase a flashlight for admittance.
From Friday through Sunday on Labor Day weekend, music will be the big draw on Laclede's Landing at the Big Muddy Blues Festival. This outdoor music festival features more than 65 local and nationally-known artists that will perform on different stages set up throughout the Landing. Nearby restaurants will also be serving up food and drinks during the festival for whenever you need a break or a bite to eat.
Take in four days of bicycle racing in four different St. Louis neighborhoods at the Gateway Cup over Labor Day Weekend. Pro-am cyclists compete for cash and prizes during the annual event in Lafayette Square, St. Louis Hills, Benton Park, and The Hill. There are also recreational and children's rides for amateur cyclists of all abilities.
You can kick off Friday and Saturday of Labor Day weekend in St. Louis by heading out to nearby Hermann and Missouri's wine country for the annual Harvest Festival at Stone Hill Winery. The celebration includes pumpkin painting, grape stomping, cellar tours, free live music, and more on Saturday.
Eckert's is celebrating Applefest over Labor Day weekend at its Belleville farm, starting off with live, free concerts on Friday and Saturday nights. The festival itself then runs Sunday through Monday. There are all kinds of apple treats for sale as well as pick-your-own apples and other food; the celebration also includes wagon rides, live entertainment, and plenty of activities for kids of all ages.
If you're looking for an activity that's both fun and educational, you can take a river cruise on the Mississippi River this Labor Day weekend. A guide will take you on a 2-hour tour on the 49-passenger River Rambler, sharing information about the history of the river and its important geological features. The tour boat has an open-air top level and they feature a bar with snacks. It's a good idea to check the weather forecast and confirm with the boat company in advance, as there can be closures due to weather and river conditions.
St. Louis might not be the first place you think of when it comes to celebrating Japanese culture, but each Labor Day weekend, the Missouri Botanical Garden hosts one of the oldest and biggest Japanese festivals in the U.S. The event features traditional music, dancing, and storytelling in the authentic Japanese strolling gardens. Visitors can learn about the art of origami or attend a traditional tea ceremony. Another highlight of the event is the chance to see a real sumo wrestling demonstration.
Enjoy an evening of jazz at a free outdoor concert along the banks of the Missouri River in Frontier Park. The 18-piece St. Charles Big Band will continue their 20 years of performances. Everyone is invited to bring a lawn chair or blanket and relax under the stars for this free event in St. Charles.
Thousands of local union members will march through Downtown St. Louis for the annual Labor Day Parade on the holiday weekend. The gathering usually begins at North 13th Street and Olive Street, then the parade makes its way down Tucker Boulevard, past St. Louis City Hall, and west on Market Street to North 15th Street.
Many union members and their families from Metro East (an Illinois region that makes up the eastern suburbs of St. Louis) will honor Labor Day at the annual parade and picnic in Belleville. The city of Belleville, Illinois, is about 30 minutes by car from St. Louis. The parade begins in the morning along First Street in downtown Belleville. There is typically a picnic after the parade in Hough City Park, which is located at W. C Street between North Third Street and North Fourth Street.
Labor Day weekend is your final chance of the year to take in the sun and fun at Raging Rivers, Splash City, Hurricane Harbor, and other local water parks. The holiday is also the last day of the season for many smaller community and neighborhood pools. It's always helpful to check local attraction websites for potential closures or schedule changes due to weather conditions, repairs, and other reasons.