A three-day weekend looms large, and this is one of those holidays without sparkling trees or big furry bunnies. (Translation: No obligations!)
There are fireworks, art festivals, much food and beer, and music, music, music this Labor Day weekend. Here are some of our top picks:
Foodstruck York: This is one of York's biggest events each year with thousands of hungry locals descending on Penn Park, 143 W. College Ave., York, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 6, to devour specialties from more than 50 food trucks and a slew of craft beer options from throughout the region. Admission to the park is free, but carry cash for most of the food vendors.
Whoopie Pie Festival: Need we say more. More than 100 whoopie pie varieties will be the stars of the show at the Hershey Farm, Restaurant & Inn, 240 Hartman Bridge Road, Ronks, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5. (Rain date is Sept. 6.) Be prepared to gorge.
Hanover Chili Cook Off: This once-a-year chili fiesta involves a massive amount of chili samples, live music and beer. It's from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 6, at the Good Field Complex on North Forney Avenue, Hanover. The event is held rain or shine and proceeds benefit Hanover area organizations. Admission is $8.50. Buy tickets here.
Paint the town
The Arts and Crafts Festival at Long's Park: This Lancaster festival showcases more than 200 artists and craftspeople from across the country. The park is transformed into an outdoor gallery, while live music, food, wine and craft beer entertain visitors as well. It starts Sept. 1 and continues through the weekend: from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4, and Saturday, Saturday, Sept. 5, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 6. Pets are prohibited within show area. Tickets are $12 for one day, $18 for multiple days, $7 for students (with identification).
Kipona Fest: Set along Harrisburg city's Riverfront Park, this three-day art festival has art booths, musical stages, a children's festival with its own entertainment stage, canoe races, and a three-on-three basketball tournament, along with food and games. Across the river on City Island will have a Native American pow wow, Senators baseball games all three days, a karate tournament, island vendors and fireworks at sunset Sunday. The festival is from noon-9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, and Sunday, Sept. 6, and noon-6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 7.
Pennsylvania Arts & Crafts Labor Day Festival: The Westmoreland Fairgrounds in Greensburg is the location of this massive show, focusing heavily on crafts. A children's activity building, entertainment, music, food and a petting zoo are among the things to do from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4, Saturday, Sept. 5, and Sunday, Sept. 6 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 7, at 123 Blue Ribbon Lane, Greensburg.
Go trunk shopping
First Friday York: Boutique Week: This is First Friday amped up with trunk shows, pop-up shows, and designer clothing at downtown clothing stores from 5-9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4. Many restaurants will also be open later, and check out the Royal Square neighborhood for food trucks as well. See the full list of participating businesses and specials here.
Renaissance Faire: Hundreds of colorfully costumed characters sing, play, dance, interact with guests and entertain every Saturday and Sunday, and Labor Day, with more than 90 stage shows, 22 eateries, games, and artisan merchants. The Faire, at 2775 Lebanon Road, Manheim, is also home to a brewery and winery. Tickets are $30.95 at the gate, $25.95 online, $11.95 for children ages 5-11, and free for children 4 and younger.
2015 Pickleball Tournament: This outdoor, public pickleball tournament is billed as the only one in the region, held at Chambersburg Country Club on Saturday, Sept. 5, starting at 9 a.m. Men's, women's and mixed doubles will play on six outdoor courts at the club, 3646 Scotland Road, Chambersburg.
Labor Day Festival: This annual festival at Kiwanis Lake, Parkway Boulevard and North Newberry Street, York, begins at 7 a.m. with fireworks at 8 p.m. A flea market and yard sale typically kick off the festival. Check out food and live entertainment throughout the day. A fishing derby at Kiwanis Lake for children ages 1-15 begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 11:30 a.m. Prizes will be awarded. Meanwhile, the 26th annual York Labor Day Parade begins at 10 a.m., starting at Small's Athletic Field on North George Street. The theme is "Labor is America." The grand marshal will be a member of the Pennsylvania Wounded Warriors.
Feel the music
Zac Brown Band: HersheyPark Stadium's summer concert series ends with a pair of powerhouse performers: the Zac Brown Band and Gregg Allman. Three-time Grammy winners and multi-platinum artists, Zac Brown and his band have had three platinum-selling albums and recent No. 1 hit album "Jekyll + Hyde" reached the top of both the country and rock radio charts. The show is at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5. Buy tickets here. Allman is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee from his days with the Allman Brothers Band, still performing Southern Rock (and riding a Harley Davidson).
Shank's Mare: Take a chair, blanket, cooler and some friends to hang out by the river for live local music at 2092 Long Level Road, Wrightsville. Meg & the Right Sound, an indie folk, rock and blues band, will perform from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4, while Shank's Mare's Lock 2 Café offers dinner specials, and you can call ahead to have an Unwind Cheese & Snack Plate ready when you arrive. The event is BYOB. Tickets are not required, but tips are accepted.
The Lyric Band of Hanover Concert Series: Check out the free summer concert at the Codorus State Park Band Shell near the mini boat launch off of Sinshiem Road. A performance by Bravura Brass begins at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 6. Take lawn chairs and blankets. In case of inclement weather, call 717-632-6313 or visit www.LyricBand.org after 5 p.m. for cancellations.
Moon Dancer Winery folk festival: The winery, on a hill overlooking the Susquehanna River, holds an annual folk festival for $20, which buys visitors limited wine tasting and folk music from 2-8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 6. The winery, at 1282 Klines Run Road, Wrightsville, also sells wood-fired pizza.