For most parts of the U.S., September is a time to enjoy nice temperatures, outdoor activities, carnivals, street fairs, markets, and sports events. The month begins with a national holiday, Labor Day. Many barbecue cookouts and beach gatherings happen that weekend across the nation as it is the unofficial end of summer.
Other national remembrances include Patriot's Day on September 11 to remember the attacks on the U.S. in 2001, and Constitution Day on September 17, the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. Those days are not national holidays, but a visit to national 9/11 memorials or the National Archives or Smithsonian Museum in the nation's capital might be fitting.
If you want to get an idea for the kinds of events that are going on across the county take a look at a cross-section of the fairs, festivals, and sports action you might want to take advantage of if you are in the neighborhood.
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Bicoastal Labor Day Fairs and Festivals
Labor Day is the first Monday in September. Many Americans take their last vacations of the summer over the three-day Labor Day weekend, so expect hotels and inns near beaches to book up quickly. Labor Day is akin to "May Day," the holiday celebrated by many around the world to salute workers.
- Electric Zoo (New York City): Electric Zoo is the largest and longest-running three-day electronic festival in New York City from August 31 through September 2.
- Labor Day Concert (Washington, D.C.): See the National Symphony Orchestra perform at the Capitol Building at 8 p.m. on Labor Day.
- LA County Fair (Los Angeles, California): If you're in Los Angeles for Labor Day weekend, the LA County Fair kicks off Labor Day weekend featuring live music, rides, livestock shows, gardening demonstrations, and hundreds of gadgets to discover.
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The Kentucky Bourbon Festival comes to Bardstown, Kentucky—the bourbon capital of the world—September 12 through September 16. The festival showcases more than 30 bourbon-related happenings, including the chance to sample the many different flavors of bourbon and whiskey, each sure to give you a nice kick in the gut.
A few days later, go 40 miles north to Louisville, Kentucky, on September 22 or September 23, and stop in at the Bourbon and Beyond music festival to hear music icons like John Mayer, Lenny Kravitz, David Byrne, Sheryl Crow, Sting, Robert Plant, and Counting Crows, to name a few.
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Since 1986, Grapefest has been a favorite mid-September event in Grapevine, Texas, just outside of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Grapefest. Grapefest is a grape-harvesting and wine festival that features grape stomping contests, wine tasting, live music, and the world's largest consumer-judged wine competition in the nation The festival runs from September 13 through September 16.
In California, September is Wine Month. Wineries from Napa Valley to Temecula Valley will be marking the harvest and celebrating the month with special wine tours, tastings, concerts and more. If you're in Sonoma on September 22 and September 23, consider attending the Sonoma Harvest Music Festival.
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Oktoberfest, which originated in Germany, is celebrated with gusto in many parts of the United States, particularly by German beer and bratwurst lovers. Oktoberfest kicks off in late September and carries on for 16 days into October. Some of the biggest Oktoberfest celebrations in the U.S. are in Cincinnati, called Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, and Pennsylvania Bavarian Oktoberfest in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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Book lovers rejoice! The National Book Festival sponsored by the Library of Congress on September 1 is a huge gathering of books and book lovers on the National Mall. Participants can meet authors and browse more than one dozen book pavilions arranged by literary genre.
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Are you ready for some college football? September means kick-off time! Grab your buds and head to America’s top college football destinations, from "the Big House" Michigan Stadium (the largest football stadium in the U.S.) in Ann Arbor to the home of the 2018 National College Football Champions the Crimson Tide of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
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Music Festivals Throughout the U.S.
September is a great time for music festivals in the U.S. with hot summer temperatures starting to cool down throughout the states. Big acts come out in full force throughout the month.
- Hopscotch Festival (Raleigh, North Carolina): From September 6 through September 8, the Hopscotch Music Festival returns to downtown Raleigh with more than 450 bands performing including The Flaming Lips, Nile Rodgers, and Miguel, to name a few artists in the lineup. More than 60,000 fans are expected.
- LouFest (St. Louis, Missouri): On September 8 and September 9, music fans from across the country descend on historic Forest Park in St. Louis for three stages of music including headliners like Robert Plant, Modest Mouse, and Michael McDonald.
- One Musicfest (Atlanta, Georgia): On September 8 and September 9 there will be 11 hours of music featuring rock, hip-hop, electro, reggae, funk, disco, house, and more. A couple of the headliners include Nas and George Clinton and Parliament.
- RiotFest (Chicago, Illinois): For fans of punk and alt-rock, from September 13 through September 16 you can see bands like Blink 182, Incubus, Beck, Suicidal Tendencies, Cypress Hill, and many more in Chicago's Humbolt Park. The popularity of this festival has spawned editions in Toronto and Denver.
- Grandoozy (Denver, Colorado): The first-ever Grandoozy comes to Denver on September 14 to September 16. Acts like Kendrick Lamar, Florence and the Machine, Stevie Wonder, among others are slated to perform at Overland Park.
- Monterey Jazz Festival (Monterey, California): The world's longest-running jazz festival, the 56th Monterey Jazz Festival runs September 21 through September 23, and brings with it Herbie Hancock, Norah Jones, Wynton Marsalis, the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, and many more.
- River City Rockfest (San Antonio, Texas): One jam-packed day, September 22, features headliners like Nine Inch Nails, Primus, Stone Temple Pilots, Joan Jett, Bush, Clutch, Suicidal Tendencies and much, much more.
- iHeartradio Music Festival (Las Vegas, Nevada): This two-day festival September 21 and September 22 features Justin Timberlake, Fleetwood Mac, Carrie Underwood, Mariah Carey, Imagine Dragons, Dua Lipa, Lynard Skynard, and Kelly Clarkson, among others.
- Sea. Hear. Now (Asbury Park, NJ): A new festival comes to the Jersey Shore on September 29 and September 30 with three stages and more than 25 bands including Jack Johnson, Incubus, Blondie, Social Distortion, and much more.
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Some have called Burning Man a social experiment. Others call it a full-time party for nine days. For each person, Burning Man means something different—there's art, music, dance, community, and partying. From August 26 to September 3, an ancient lakebed of the Black Rock Desert in Nevada (called the Playa) becomes the most populous town in the entire country. On the final day, "the Man," a large art installation representing that year's theme, burns. Everyone and everything leaves with it.