9 of the best US Labor Day events for 2019

Stacey Lastoe, CNN, Video by Chris MorrowPublished 23rd August 2019
(CNN) — Although held each year on the first Monday of September, Labor Day has become much more than a 24-hour celebration.
The public holiday, in honor of working people in the United States, signifies the end of summer for many. So it is little wonder that the entire three-day weekend boasts festive events to which people travel from coast to coast.
Here are nine destinations that have some of the best Labor Day events. Click the links at the end of the article for more information on each of them:

San Diego: U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge and Dimensional Art Exposition

This event is so major that the city says it is renaming itself from August 31 to September 2, 2019. During this time, it will be known not as San Diego but SAND iego.
World master sculptors will be creating art from 300 tons of sand and taking part in a competition.
If you get tired of the sand, there will bands playing tributes to the Beatles, Bob Dylan and the Beach Boys. Hungry? Around a dozen gourmet food trucks will be on hand.

New Orleans: Southern Decadence

Southern Decadence is sometimes referred to as the "gay Mardi Gras," but the party organizers are reaching out to the whole community and will have family-focused options, too.
Southern Decadence is sometimes referred to as the "gay Mardi Gras," but the party organizers are reaching out to the whole community and will have family-focused options, too.
Kerry Maloney/The Times-Picayune/AP
Down in Louisiana is an event called Southern Decadence, a festive weekend for the LGBT community and friends that's been 48 years in the making. It can draw more than 200,000 people.
From a "Battle of the Bulge" contest starting at midnight Thursday (August 29) to a "Hung Over and Broke" party on Monday (September 2), there's plenty to keep the party crowd entertained.
Most events are held in the French Quarter.

New York City: West Indian American Day Carnival

In New York City, the West Indian American Day Carnival Association will put on its event of the year along Brooklyn's Eastern Parkway near Prospect Park. From carnival costumes to Caribbean food, there's plenty for the 1.5 million attendees to love.
Festivities actually start on Thursday (August 29) with music at the Brooklyn Museum. And events run all the way to Monday (September 2), when the fun culminates with the annual the parade, which starts at 11 a.m. Monday and lasts for seven hours.
Delicious food options abound: jerk chicken and fish, rice and peas, curries, fried chicken, arepas and traditional Spanish dishes such as arroz con pollo.
While the event is dry, attendees can pop into a nearby bar or restaurant for a drink if they want a break from the scene.

Denver: Taste of Colorado

Food tends to be an important part of holiday celebrations, and Labor Day is no different.
In Denver, foodies can partake in the Taste of Colorado from Saturday (August 31) to Labor Day (September 2). More than 50 restaurants and food trucks will be delivering the tasty goods.
Don't worry about stuffing your face -- you'll have a chance to dance all those calories off with performers such as KC and Sunshine Band, Dwight Yoakam and Toad the Wet Sprocket.

Chicago: Chicago Jazz Festival

The Chicago Jazz Festival's biggest venue is in Millennium Park, but there's jazz all over the Windy City.
The Chicago Jazz Festival's biggest venue is in Millennium Park, but there's jazz all over the Windy City.
Chicago Jazz Festival
Speaking of music, the Chicago Jazz Festival is a Labor Day tradition in the Windy City. Technically, the festival kicks off Friday (August 23) with jazz venues and clubs around the city offering performances during the dog days of summer.
You can catch performances for the big events from Thursday (August 29) to Sunday (September 1) at the Chicago Cultural Center and Millennium Park. Performers in 2019 include: Freddy Cole in tribute to his brother, Nat King Cole; the Art Ensemble of Chicago; and the Eddie Palmieri Sextet.
The Millennium Park portion of the festival -- the main event -- will feature food trucks and places to buy wine and beer, the ultimate jazz-listening accessories.

Detroit: Detroit Jazz Festival

Not to be outdone by Chicago, Great Lakes rival city Detroit also has its own jazz festival.
The 40th annual event will be held from Friday, August 30, to Labor Day itself.
Performers will include 2019 Artist-in-Residence: Stanley Clarke, Macy Gray, University of Michigan Jazz Ensemble and the Kenny Garrett Quintet.
And your cost for all this great music? It's free.

Brookfield, Missouri: Great Pershing Balloon Derby

In its 42nd year, the Great Pershing Balloon Derby is the longest running continuously sanctioned balloon event in the country. Balloons fly up to several thousand feet, offering views of Missouri's lush landscapes; cameras are encouraged.
In its 42nd year, the Great Pershing Balloon Derby is the longest running continuously sanctioned balloon event in the country. Balloons fly up to several thousand feet, offering views of Missouri's lush landscapes; cameras are encouraged.
John Petrehn/Great Pershing Balloon Derby
Another notable Midwest option is the Great Pershing Balloon Derby in Brookfield, Missouri. The schedule of events begins Friday (August 30) and continues through to Labor Day. Balloon flights, 45 minutes to one hour, take place in the morning and in the evening, so long as winds don't go above 10 mph.
But the derby is about more than just balloons. Attendees can shop at craft vendors, fuel up at food trucks and search for flea market finds. Kids can enjoy a bike decorating contest.

Amana, Iowa: The Festival of Iowa Beers

The festival is held in Amana, one of seven villages in the Amana Colonies not too far from Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. Tickets for this increasingly popular event sell for $30 if you buy ahead and $35 if you purchase the day of the event, which is Sunday, September 1. This buys guests a souvenir glass and unlimited samples.
There will be a wide variety of beer on tap, and food vendors will be sprinkled throughout the grounds. Live music completes the scene.

Pomona, California: L.A. County Fair

Last but not least is the L.A. County Fair. The fair runs from Friday, August 30, to Sunday, September 22, with its traditional Labor Day Weekend kick-off.
Highlights for 2019 include: Performances by the The O'Jays and The Spinners, an appearance by comedian George Lopez, an exhibit of LA pop architecture, historical train displays and a Flower & Garden Pavilion.

Get more details

U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge and Dimensional Art Exposition, 1000 North Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
Southern Decadence, New Orleans, LA
West Indian American Day Carnival, Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn NY
Taste of Colorado, Civic Center Park, Denver, CO
Chicago Jazz Festival, Millennium Park, Chicago, IL
Detroit Jazz Festival, Hart Plaza to Campus Martius Park, downtown Detroit, MI
Great Pershing Balloon Derby, Myron Peacher Memorial Launch Site, Brookfield, MO
The Festival of Iowa Beers, Millstream Brewing Company, 835 48th Ave., Amana, IA
L.A. County Fair, Fairplex, Pomona, CA