As one of the most beloved Labor Day weekend Seattle staples, Bumbershoot is commonly considered a music festival. With this year’s headliners of Lorde, Flume, and the Seattle natives that comprise Odesza, the music focus is understandable. However, the festival name—a nickname for umbrellas—was chosen not only as a city-appropriate symbol but also to illustrate the festival as an umbrella for all arts.
The 2017 lineup will also feature over a hundred performers of music, comedy, literary arts, dance, film, and more. Located right under the Space Needle at the Seattle Center, some Bumbershoot offshoots include Yogashoot (yoga at the festival) and Youngershoot (festival activities for kids). The three-day long festival, September 1–3, 2017, offers passes starting at $99.
Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA, USA, +1 206 684 7200
For the second time this year, the Washington State Fair (often referred to as the Puyallup Fair), has been extended, and it will begin during the Labor Day weekend. Costing up to $14 per person, this over 100-year-old fair boasts classic carnival food, rides, and music. Specifically, Labor Day weekend will feature Nickelback (Sept. 1st), Lady Antebellum (Sept. 2nd), Steven Tyler (Sept. 3rd), as well as Jimi Hendrix and Heart tributes (Sept. 4th). Head down approximately 36 miles (58 kilometers) south of Seattle and “Do The Puyallup!”
Washington State Fair, 110 9th Avenue SW, Puyallup, WA, USA, +1 253 845 1771
Because all the best states have more than one fair in self-celebration, there is also the Evergreen State Fair. Located in Monroe, approximately 33 miles (53 kilometers) northeast of Seattle, this event offers pony rides, rodeos, fireworks, derbies, and a petting zoo. Trace Adkins will perform the final concert on September 1st; the fair ends, along with Labor Day weekend, on September 4th. Admission prices begin at $12.
The Evergreen State Fairground, 14405 179th AVE SE, Monroe, WA, USA, +1 360 805 6700
For those put off by the prices above, fear not, as admission to this festival is free! Along with your typical festival food, the 28th Annual Bremerton Blackberry Festival (located across the Puget Sound on September 2nd, 3rd, and 4th) cooks up blackberry delights—both standard and strange. Examples include blackberry sausage, blackberry cobbler, blackberry bubble tea, and blackberry jello shots. You can also stick around for the Berry Fun Run and “Chalk the Block” Art Contest.
Bremerton Boardwalk, 100 Washington Beach Blvd, Bremerton, WA, USA, +1 360 377 3041
Want to avoid sunburns during Labor Day weekend? There are inside events too. PAX West, with admission starting at $48, is one of the largest gaming events in North America. Originating in Bellevue, Washington in 2004, the now-international event takes place over four days (September 1st–4th), providing live music, console freeplay, an exhibit hall, a handheld lounge, panels, a PC area, a tabletop area, and the Omegathon with a grand prize of traveling to Japan.
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Approximately 100 miles (161 kilometers) north of Seattle, the city of Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island should not be overlooked. With over 30 bands across two stages, two beer gardens, arts and crafts booths, and food vendors, this admission-free festival strives to “inspire our community with the power of music.” Check it out Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of Labor Day weekend.
After birthing companies such as Boeing, it’s no wonder Seattle celebrates its planes. The Historic Flight Foundation will host the 10th Annual Vintage Aircraft Weekend September 1st–3rd at Paine Field in Mukilteo; admission fees start at $8 per ticket. The weekend will include live big band music, barbecue, flying displays, and rides in open cockpit biplanes (an example of which is pictured below). Other than aircraft, the following will also be present in vintage form: automobiles, military vehicles, bicycles, clothing, and uniforms.
The Ballard Locks, built 100 years ago in 1917, are fascinating. Separating Seattle’s fresh water harbor from the salt water of Puget Sound, the locks keep the fresh water 20–22 feet (6–6.7 meters) above sea level. Plus, they allow for passage of boats from one side to the other, and with an integrated fish ladder, they aid in the migration of tens of thousands of salmon every year. The 28th Annual Free Summer Concert Series at the locks will have two of its last four performances over Labor Day weekend by Strum: Seattle’s Totally Relaxed Ukelele Musicians (September 2nd at 2 pm) and Michael Clune & Sleep till Noon Band (September 4th at 2 pm).
Ballard Locks, 3015 NW 54th St, Seattle, WA, USA, +1 206 783 7059
[Up and Down] The Small Lock of the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (better known as the Ballard Locks), part of the Lake Washington Ship Canal between Puget Sound and Lakes Union and Washington near Seattle. The Ballard Locks, celebrating their 100th anniversary on May 7, 2017, keeps the inland lakes approximately 20 feet (about 6m) higher than the ocean low tide. The smaller of two locks in the complex, this one raises or lowers smaller vessels — often several at a time — to or from the Salmon Bay in the background. The locks also prevent saltwater from intruding into the freshwater lakes inland while allowing ship traffic to pass. The large lock is off-frame to the left, while a spillway and salmon ladder is to the right of this lock. #BallardLocks100
Looking for a challenge this Labor Day? Check out the Overlake Medical Center Labor Day Half Marathon ($65+), with a Family Four-Mile ($35+) and Kids’ Run ($10). Warning: the half-marathon will interfere with sleeping in.
In addition to the typical arts and crafts, food, and music, this free festival, taking place on September 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, will feature circus performers, sand sculpting, a floating WWII Museum, robotics demonstrations, and really cool boats. Guests can tour vintage tugboats, steamships, and tall ships before the “World’s Largest Vintage Tugboat Races” begin on Sunday.
222 Columbia St NW, Olympia, WA, USA, +1 360 556 0498