What You Need To Know About Labor Day Now

On a day-off for (most but not all) workers that honors a seminal moment in the history of American labor, here's what's closed and, even more important, what's open, along with a tip if you're thinking about a picnic.


What is Labor Day anyway?

Well, it's a holiday borne out of labor strikes by Illinois railroad manufacturers in the 1890s. While the United States is the largest manufacturing country in the world (for now), Connecticut’s work force in this industry has shriveled by 45 percent since 1990, according to the Connecticut Labor Department.

This day off is intended for employees of all industries, so here's what's closed on Monday:

  • All federal and state offices
  • All Madison municipal offices
  • All Madison public schools
  • The E.C. Scranton Memorial Library in Madison
  • U.S. financial markets
  • Banks and credit unions
  • All postal offices
  • Commuter trains such as Shore Line East and Metro North will run on a holiday/weekend schedule Monday
  • The DMV until Tuesday
  • Connecticut Lottery Headquarters in Rocky Hill
  • Some businesses (call first to see if your destination is open)

What's open on Monday:

  • Retail Stores
  • Supermarkets
  • Restaurants
  • Convenience stores
  • Bars/Taverns
  • Call ahead before heading to any of the above establishments to confirm they are open. Many retail stores may be operating on a Sunday schedule or with limited hours.
  • Beaches. In Madison, you can pick from , the , , , and any number of neighborhood beaches.
  • Hiking trails. Here's a list from the Madison Land Conservation Trust.


A favorite past time for Labor Day is packing a picnic and heading for the great outdoors. One of our favorite places for one-stop shopping when it comes to packing a picnic? in the North Madison Shopping plaza right off of the traffic circle.

What's your favorite place to shop for a picnic? Let us know in the comments.

If you're going to head out for any extended period of time, be sure to check the weather forecast first.

Here are some ideas for what to do this weekend around the state:

Below are some suggested local activities as well as Labor Day events across the state!

Labor Day fun in New Haven County

Check out the ODYSSEY Greek Festival for a unique cultural experience (Orange): ODYSSEY is a four-day celebration of Greek food, music and culture that features authentic Greek cuisines, live music and dancing, a marketplace, folk dance performances, church tours, children's activities and much more.

Quassy Amusement Park or bust, the Carload Labor Day deal is here (Middlebury): from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on September 3rd everyone in the car receives an all-day pass that includes rides and waterpark. Honk if you love Quassy!

If you love to run, check out Stratton Faxon New Haven Road Race (New Haven): Registration is now open for the 20K, 5K and Kids Fun Run and the first 6,000 entrants receive t-shirts. There will be live music on the course, family-friendly activities and a post-race Labor Day celebration on the New Haven Green!


Labor Day fun in Middlesex County

If exciting contests are the thrill you seek, then Haddam Neck Fair is for you (Haddam): The fair will take place August 31- September 3, 2012 and will feature tractor pull contests, baking contests and more. You can also enjoy arts and crafts, photography, stage entertainment, livestock, and tons of baked goods.

See the fall birds descend on Connecticut on Tree Swallow Spectacle River Cruise (Haddam): The twilight river cruise departs from Eagle Landing State Park and heads south to an area where up to 250,000 Tree Swallows come to roost for the night. Bring a picnic dinner and watch as these birds converge just before sunset, perform a ballet and then dive down into the reeds to sleep for the night.

It’s the beginning of fruit festivals galore at Lyman Orchards (Middlefield): Major League Baseball's greatest rivalry comes to life in the new four-acre Yankees vs. Red Sox Corn Maze opening today! Or come out to pick-your-own fruit and try Connecticut’s best apple pie.


Labor Day fun in Hartford County

The Riverfront U.S. Title Series Powerboat Race promises excitement for all (Hartford): World record racers from around the country will compete in a high performance race with speeds reaching 120 miles per hour! Nothing is more exciting than seeing the blur of boats thundering across the surface of the water into their first turn!


Labor Day fun in Litchfield County

Get in some family camping time at White Memorial Family Campground (Litchfield): Enjoy one last outdoor adventure with the family before the weather gets cold. The Windmill Hill campground has 18 sites in the shelter and the quiet of the woods and is only open through Labor Day!

If racecars are more your speed, check out the Historic Festival 30 (Lakeville): August 31- Sept. 3 more than 300 vintage race cars will fill the grounds of Lime Rock Park, the Midway will be alive with activities, a famous collector will bring some terrific cars, meet a famous racing personality - and the racing on the track is non-stop.


Labor Day fun in New London County

Watch artists in action at the Meet the Artists & Artisans Labor Day Show (Mystic): The show features nationally juried fine artists, sculptors, photographers, and graphic illustrators who create their works on location, while handcrafters demonstrate bird carving, weaving, glass making, and jewelry assemblage.  Experience the thrill of the creative process as you watch artists and artisans make their magic.

Spend the weekend touring lighthouses at the Sentinels on the Sound event (New London): All Three Sisters of New London Harbor - New London Harbor Light, Ledge Light and Avery Point Light – will be open for the public to tour inside the towers. Other activities include special lighthouse excursions (some by boat), shoreline bicycle tour, lighthouse cake competition, and performances.


Labor Day fun in Windham County

Be a part of the celebration at the 152ndWoodstock Fair (Woodstock): Held every Labor Day weekend, the Woodstock Fair is a tradition you don’t want to miss! The fair comes chalk-full of fun with activities like the Ghirardelli Chocolate Championship, a three legged race, karaoke, a blueberry pie eating contest, tractor pulls and so much more.


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