The first Labor Day occurred on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894. The day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of workers in America and is celebrated on the first Monday in September. While who gets credit for creating Labor Day is up for debate, President Grover Cleveland signed it into law to make it official. To many, the weekend symbolizes the end of summertime. Nowadays, folks seek to celebrate, often outdoors, with picnics, parades, and parties throughout the USA. Here are three tips for having a great Labor Day outing and picnic.
- Do a potluck. Having everyone contribute takes the pressure and expense of the gathering off the shoulders of one person. This type of communal meal involves each attendee bringing their favorite dish to share with others. Potlucks are believed to have originated during the Depression. Each person sharing a dish creates a veritable feast. To avoid having 12 potato salads and no dessert, ask folks to sign up to bring their favorite dish along with a trivet to place under their hot dish and serving utensils. Be sure to ask guests who do not like to cook to contribute by signing up to bring plates, cutlery, napkins, cups, ice, tablecloths, or beverages. Make sure there is bottled water to stay hydrated in the sun.
- Create a backup plan. Bad weather can spoil outdoor gatherings, such as a picnic in the park, and even put guests at risk when weather is severe. Additionally, advanced weather forecasts can often be unpredictable. For those reasons, it’s best to create an alternate plan for outdoor parties – just in case clouds come your way. This can include preparing by setting up a sturdy tent with side closures, choosing a secondary location such as someone’s home, or setting a rain date as backup. Remind guests to bring towels and bathing suits should swimming be on the agenda or jackets should the weather turn cool. Also, if you’re having an outdoor party, be sure that there is parking and easy access to restrooms nearby.
- Ask for volunteers. Request help to set up and clean up. That way, one person won’t get stuck with all the work. Remind guests to bring their own folding chairs if seating is short. Assign volunteers to bring cleaning supplies to wipe chairs and tables, trash bags, and grilling supplies if needed. It’s important to have activities to engage kids and adults. Ask guests to bring lawn and board games that are labeled. If you’re grilling, be sure to bring the proper tools such as charcoal, lighter fluid, and matches and don’t forget a grill brush and spatula to flip the burgers. Also have some guests supply bug spray and suntan lotion for the group, and Band-Aids and ointment, so that you are fully prepared for all situations.
Labor Day is an important time to gather in recognition of American laborers who are responsible for the development and achievements of our country. Though a well-planned gathering involves some time to arrange, it ensures that your outing will be a success. Consider doing a potluck to share cooking responsibilities, planning for the weather, and asking guests to pitch in by bringing along well-needed supplies. Be sure to arrive a little bit early so that you can help those in need of direction. Also attend to the small details, such as providing music or party favors, to make guests feel welcome.