"Can it Be Labor Day Already?"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, September 3, 2016

The meaning of Labor Day has changed over the years. First celebrated in 1882, some believe our country copied Canada, which held its first observance in 1870. That first year, a parade of 10,000 workers was held in New York City to demonstrate their growing strength. They wanted to promote better working conditions and allow the public to show its appreciation of laborers and their trades. The idea spread across the country as other states also held parades.

President Grover Cleveland signed into law a declaration making it a national holiday in 1894. The date of the first Monday of September was chosen to add a holiday break between Independence Day and Thanksgiving. The annual parades were followed by festivals to entertain workers and their families and the event became known as a “working man’s holiday.” Speeches by local dignitaries were part of the gatherings with politicians using the occasion to campaign.

Locally, we still celebrate with a parade in Elkton during AutumnFest over the Labor Day Weekend. The theme has changed to a celebration of the end of summer and the coming fall season. Elkton certainly provides all of the festival atmosphere of the original holiday by providing four days of constant activities from a beautiful baby contest to mud volleyball.

Although the weather often remains summer-like and enjoyable during September, many resort areas witness a frenzy of activity by summer residents as they close up cottages. Schools will all begin classes and local tourist businesses employing students will see an evacuation of workers.

Harvest is in full swing in the Thumb and a few sample sugar beet deliveries have already been made. Gardens and fruit trees are being harvested by owners who labored over them all summer and will reap the bounty as canning and freezing activity begins.

Many people who worked all summer — on farms or for tourist businesses — may get time off to go fishing, enjoy the beaches or just catch up on “Honey-Do’s” around the house. Plans will be set to take fall color tours as we all patiently wait for Mother Nature’s brilliant displays to begin.

I know it is only the beginning of September, but the month always seems to pass quickly. Autumn arrives Sept. 22 and the weather will begin to change. “Snowbirds” (those who head south when the first chill in the air arrives) will be restless, reviewing the long list of things that must be done before their exits, being aware the chores are easier while it’s still warm.

It won’t be long before the beet and pickle harvest is in full swing and drivers will need to be alert. Fall weather sees animals moving about and encounters with them on the roads is another reason for caution.

Just the thought of raking leaves makes everyone’s arms ache.

As I see it, there is just enough time to head for the dock, pier, breakwall or riverbank with a pole in hand. Sit back and relax, enjoy the beauty of the water and maybe catch enough fish for dinner. Some of you may want to prepare your equipment to head into the woods for small game hunting which opens soon. If your family likes wild game, you can put dinner on the table as well as enjoy a day in the woods.

Return to Home Page of Tipsforboating.com


Copyright © Fred Davis. All rights reserved.