It’s coming — the day after which you’re not “supposed” to wear white — Labor Day. But thank goodness that overblown fashion advice is outdated! These days Labor Day is all about celebrating hard work, wearing what you want, and spending the day your way.
There’s always a lot going on over Labor Day, which is a long weekend Americans love, but also dread a little bit… since it means summer is almost over and cooler weather is coming. Regardless, Fetch is here to share a little about the history of Labor Day, how to take advantage of Labor Day sales and celebrations, and of course, how to save some of the money you’ve labored so hard to earn.
What is Labor Day and when is Labor Day?
Labor Day is a federal holiday in the United States intended to honor workers, and it is celebrated annually on the first Monday in September. The weekend preceding the holiday is referred to as Labor Day Weekend. Labor Day in the United States is one of several other Labor Day celebrations that occur internationally, including Canada’s Labour Day, which is also celebrated on the first Monday in September.
History of Labor Day: Why do we celebrate Labor Day?
Labor Day was long proposed as a way to honor and recognize the American labor movement. It was first celebrated as far back as 1882, but as more activists continued to ask for a day to celebrate the social and economic achievements of workers, states began to offer the holiday, with Oregon being the first to make it an official public holiday in 1887.
Then, in 1894, Congress passed an Act making the first Monday in September each year a legal holiday nationwide (although by this point in time, 30 states were already celebrating it), and Labor Day as we now know it was created! Now, we know and love (and lament) Labor Day as the unofficial end of summer.
Labor Day activities and celebrations
When it was first proposed, Labor Day was suggested to be commemorated with a street parade and a festival, and still today that’s largely how the day is celebrated in many cities. Americans love to participate in Labor Day parades, picnics, and parties. But it’s the Labor Day cookout and seasonal sales that stand out as holiday traditions.
How to plan a great Labor Day Weekend
Whether you have plans to relax, head out for a day snagging sales, man the grill, or something else entirely, there is no wrong way to have a great Labor Day weekend.
Many people are planning to invite friends and family over to the house or boat, or are themselves attending someone’s backyard bash complete with grilling, pool time, and outdoor festivities. Others celebrate Labor Day by embarking on a road trip, enjoying a staycation (maybe even some backyard camping), or being productive at home with an improvement project. The trick is to plan in advance to be ready to make the most of the long holiday weekend.
Top Labor Day celebrations around the country
All across the country Americans celebrate Labor Day, but some cities really take it to the next level with fireworks and festivities that help to celebrate in the biggest and boomiest way.
Among the top Labor Day events in the country is A Taste of Colorado, which for over four decades has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors and talent to Denver for a four day, end of summer event that offers great entertainment, delicious food, and fireworks!
In the heart of Cincinnati, the P&G Riverfest also takes place at noon on the Sunday of the Labor Day weekend. This signature celebration that has been a tradition for some thirty years, is also known for its food and fireworks.
Motor City’s Detroit Jazz Festival is a long running four day festival that entices with great music, interesting dishes and activities, and a fireworks display.
But one of the most spectacular shows is Fireworks on the Beach, which is visible from just about anywhere in and around Wildwood, New Jersey, where long weekend vacationers can enjoy some beach time!
Best places to travel over Labor Day Weekend
Any of the nation’s top events are worth a visit, but even if you can’t travel all the way to a major fireworks show, there are great places to travel over Labor Day.
While the long weekend is usually a prime opportunity for an end of summer getaway, Americans are really digging into small-town vacations these days according to AirBnB data shared with Travel & Leisure.
According to the lodging marketplace’s information on night’s booked, Columbus, Ohio is the top trending destination for the three-day weekend getaway, followed by Raleigh, North Carolina, then Tampa, Florida, and North Kingstown, Rhode Island.
Labor Day party ideas: How to host a fun Labor Day celebration
And whether you’ve traveled far or are staying close to home, you’ll likely need some items for a Labor Day party. This is the perfect time to gather friends and family together with a popular theme — White Parties are especially popular over this particular weekend — take everyone out on a boat, or satisfy your summer appetites for burgers charbroiled over the backyard grill paired with a fun new mixed drink recipe.
However you choose to throw your Labor Day party, you’ll need to stock up on some staples.
Labor Day food ideas
Food is probably the first and foremost expectation of guests at a Labor Day celebration. Whether it’s barbecue ribs or brisket, shrimp kabobs, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken wings, or chips and dips, the holiday is a perfect chance to enjoy good food and drinks and good times together, so you’ll want to have plenty of food and snacks to satisfy every appetite.
Labor Day décor ideas
Whether it’s as simple as a tablecloth and themed serving trays, or as luxe as mosquito repellant lamps or torches, a party isn’t a party without the extra parts that make it that much more enjoyable: the décor! For Labor Day, get creative with anything that you feel makes your space come together. Whether it’s a colorful end to summer or that all-white night to thwart the antiquated Labor Day “dress code,” design elements make your long weekend holiday gathering even greater.
Labor Day activities and entertainment ideas
Backyard games are especially popular at Labor Day barbecues and parties. Games like corn hole, croquet, and bocce seem to entice everyone to play together and are great for all ages. Another exciting and economical offering is a water slide — which makes a hot day much cooler and gets everyone in the mood for fun!
But if you’re not in the backyard, and are, instead, on the water, at a campsite, or in a park, a handy portable speaker for convivial music is a good idea; a projector and a blank wall can make anyplace an outdoor movie theatre; and fireworks are always festive — just make sure you follow all local rules and regulations before you attempt to light up the night!
Labor Day outfits: Can you wear white after Labor Day?
What should you wear for Labor Day? Why not whatever you feel like wearing! With Labor Day signaling the transition between summer and fall, the truth is that clothes for either season are appropriate. Really, the only thing that should determine your Labor Day outfit is what you have planned for the day; wearing white or light-colored clothing would be a great option for a day at the beach or out in the sun, but if you’re barbecuing in the backyard, all that white might become a liability for spilled food. Above all else, you should pick your look based on what is comfortable and will make you feel confident.
And while you’ve likely heard that you “can’t” wear white after Labor Day, this is definitely an outdated claim; in the early 1900’s, white dresses and linen suits were among the popular vacation attire for the very-well-to-do, and wearing white beyond Labor Day was considered akin to showing off, as if you were flaunting your wealth and a certain air of leisure. The truth is that, depending on wear you live, temperatures in September can still be very hot, so wearing light or white-colored clothing might be a smart option.
Labor Day sales and shopping events: How to find the best deals
All over the country, stores are having some of their biggest sales where shoppers can snag serious discounts on everything from seasonal items to major appliances.
Labor Day deals on grills
While Labor Day is the close of the barbecue season, buyers can nab grills for a fraction of the cost they would pay in the summer. While you can find deals on grills at so many popular retailers, we’ve always had great Labor Day luck grill shopping at Fetch reward partners like Lowe’s, Target — the latter of which has been known to sell portable grills for as low as $17!
Labor Day deals on patio furniture
If you don’t already have dining furniture on which to perch while you eat your grilled foods on the patio, Labor Day is prime time to buy some! From dining furniture to lights, rugs, and umbrellas, there are unbeatable outdoor furniture sales at Wayfair, Overstock, and even Pottery Barn where deal hunters can score discounts on everything from dishes to decor. Oh! And hammocks, don’t forget the hammocks.
Labor Day deals on appliances
To clear stores for next year’s models, shoppers can find deals on markdowns on appliances from refrigerators, ranges, cooktops, washers and dryers. Retailers typically offer up to 40% off large appliances during Labor Day (and other long weekend) sales.
Labor Day deals on mattresses
Labor Day is perhaps the best time to buy a mattress. While other three day weekends also offer great deals, the upcoming end of September marks the end of the fiscal year in most cases. Since that’s when many retailers and businesses take an accounting of their profits and losses, a larger portion of the products in the marketplace will be discounted for faster sale. This means you can head home with (or shop online for) a new mattress at a major markdown!
Labor Day deals on computers and laptops
Most big online and tech retailers take advantage of Labor Day sales, but since the holiday also connects to Back-To-School savings, it’s a most excellent time to buy electronics like laptops, tablets, and desktop computers. Retailers like Best Buy, Dell, and Microsoft have deals that just can’t be beat at other times of the year; and Apple offers education pricing through the month of September.
Labor Day deals on cars
Car buyers know the latest models come out in September, so to save on a new ride, they can usually shop last year’s models throughout early Fall. Dealerships’ Labor Day sales help them to push those models off the lot, while shoppers enjoy deals and financing specials. Labor Day is a great time to test ride and buy a new car!
Labor Day deals on summer clothing and sunglasses
Labor Day is an excellent opportunity to shop for warm-weather apparel and summer clothing, since it’s a time when many retailers are trying to clear out their summer stock. You can also find deep discounts on summer activity apparel or gear — like anything for hiking or beach needs — as well as sunglasses and Back-To-School wardrobes.
How Fetch can help you celebrate savings this Labor Day
Labor Day is spectacular at the end of summer, but all of the travel, parties and shopping can add up! If only there was a way to save even more on all of your purchases… But wait, there is!
Not only does Fetch offer huge rewards for your entire Labor Day cookout and festivities, but you’ll also earn points for all of the shopping you do on any of these irresistible Labor Day sales.
Just download the Fetch app to your smartphone or use Fetch’s Digital Receipt Program to link your email accounts or digital consumer accounts to your Fetch account. Every uploaded receipt earns you points — as well as specific products found on each receipt that may earn you extra points — that all accumulate toward a free gift card, at a variety of your favorite travel destinations, restaurants, and stores.
For Labor Day, special offers vary, but shoppers are earning bonus points when buying Coors Light, Blue Moon, Annie’s Macaroni and Cheese, Dole Fruit Bowls, Tabasco Hot Sauce, Sargento …the list goes on and on (and on). Simply open the Fetch app and click “view all” on the homepage to see every brand that could be earning you free gift cards to stores like Kroger, Whole Foods, Instacart, Safeway, Amazon, and more.
And, if you’re interested in earning even more points, check out Special Offers made just for Labor Day. Discover new products and combine Labor Day sales with Fetch bonus points to get the strongest deals of the weekend and have the best Labor Day.
Enjoy every last bit of summer — remember this is the last official long weekend until late October — and while you’re celebrating and shopping, remember to snap those receipts so you can also be saving!
Kate Michael is a Writer, Emcee, On-Camera Host and Fashion/Commercial Model.