Editor's note: We took out the Tall Ships mock battle event, as the website indicates it is sold out. Sorry!
You work hard — it’s time to play. Soak up those last rays of summer and show the kids a good time before tossing them back into the educational pool. It’s in the name of the American worker, after all. Come to think of it, it might not be an accident that we celebrate Labor Day at the tail end of the “I’m bored” season.
1. Blues for Food Fest. Head to Seattle's Magnuson Park to take in the bluesy tunes of the Northwest’s finest musicians, sample the tasty treats of local vendors, bid on out-of-this-world homemade pies, and check out the children’s gardening activities. Free parking. Blues for Food Fest raises money and awareness for P-Patch Giving Gardens, the P-Patch Trust and the Washington Blues Society’s Musicians Relief Fund. In addition to your ticket purchase you can support the festival with the donation of non-perishable food and fresh produce.
Saturday, 12–9 p.m.
$15-$20,kids under 12 free
2. Bumbershoot. A Seattle tradition, this music festival is a family-friendly affair, with a terrific lineup of performances and activities at the Youngershoot Kid Zone, open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (see our full preview and Bumbershoot FAQs). Plus, kids ages 10 and under are free.
Saturday–Monday, check schedule for specific times.
$45 advance purchase for day pass; $55 at door. Ages 10 and under free.
3. Blackberry Festival. Bremerton celebrates the ubiquitous berry with a street fair bursting with fun for the whole family. A children’s stage, bouncy house and pony rides are just a few of the sweet treats provided for kids.
Saturday 10 a.m.–8 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Monday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
4. Blueberry-picking: Speaking of berries, if you thought blueberry-picking season was over, not so fast. Bellevue's Mercer Slough blueberry farm still has plenty of picking (and will, they expect, through September). Charlotte's Blueberry Park in Tacoma likewise promises a berry bonanza. Bryant Blueberry Farm in Arlington is also open for the weekend (8 a.m.–4 p.m.), and kids will enjoy the playground, ducks and goats as well as the berries.
5. NW Sand Festival. Federal Way may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of sandy beaches, but it should be when you think of sandcastles. These aren’t just castles, but works of art. The best sand sculptors come from all over the world to compete in the event. A quarry in Federal way provides the superior glacier till sand — it has very fine, sharp grains that lock together. Kids can play in the giant sandbox or compete in the Kid’s Contest Saturday at 10 a.m.
Daily, starting at 10 a.m.
$5–$7. Ages 4 and under free
6. The Evergreen State Fair. Monroe is home to one of the most popular end-of-summer destinations — the State Fair. Get your annual dose of carnival rides, elephant ears and eau de cow.
Daily 10 a.m.–10 p.m.
$5–$7, age 5 and under free
7. Sunday Ice Cream Cruise on Lake Union. Although this is a year-round activity, the last weekend of summer seems to be particularly perfect for a cruise and a cone. (And what better place to be on Labor Day than Lake Union?) Departing every hour, on the hour, Seattle Mini Ferry the M.V. Fremont Avenue takes you on a 45-minute-long cruise with goofy narration and funky tunes. Cruise by floating homes (including the houseboat made famous in Sleepless in Seattle), and get a fish-eye view of Gas Works Park and Dale Chihuly’s waterfront studio.
Sunday 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
8. End of Summer Pool Party. Dive right in — this is your last chance to enjoy games, crafts, music, and of course, outdoor pool fun at Peter Kirk Pool in Kirkland. Space is limited to the first 270 people.
Friday 3:50–7 p.m.
9. Olympia Harbor Days Harbor Days. Celebrate the maritime workhorse — the tugboat. Vintage, working and retired tugboats gather at the southernmost tip of Puget Sound for three days of entertainment, food, art, history, and a last farewell to summer at Olympia’s Percival Landing. Tour a tug on Saturday or watch at noon Sunday as the tugs leave shore to participate in the Annual Harbor Days Tugboat Races. Kid activities include model tugboats, camel rides, robotics, the Big Purple Slide, SOGO Instrument Petting Zoo and more.
Friday 5–8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
10. Labor Day Celebration at Lower Woodland Park. Hosted by the M.L. King County Labor Council, this Seattle celebration of the American worker features live music with the classic rock sounds of The Fabulous Boomers, the traditional fare of ice cream and hot dogs, plus clowns, games, face painting, raffle prizes and more.
Monday 11 a.m.–3 p.m.