We know, we know…by the time Labor Day Weekend rolls around you’re feeling drained, the kids are thoroughly sunbaked and anxious about school, and holing up in the house for three days straight doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. We’re your voice of reason. When else can your family check out at a Labor Day parade, cut a rug to world class blues music (for free!), see hardshell crabs race on the beach, dress up in 16th century garb and “speaketh like this” at a Renaissance Fair, and get a sneak peek at Kennedy Center performances (also for free)…in the span of 72 hours? If there ever was a weekend to get out and about, this is that weekend. So, muster all of your energy and officially bid farewell to summer like you really mean it. Pep talk over.

labor-day-parade

Maryland

Gaithersburg Annual Labor Day Parade
This annual parade is 75 years strong, and for good reason. Each Labor Day the streets of Olde Towne fill with families (rain or shine, mind you) checking out the cultural dancers, antique cars, fire trucks, clowns, and marching bands. This year’s celebration is dedicated to the communities law enforcement community, as the City of Gaithersburg Police are celebrating thier 50th anniversary. Our advice: Get there early to scope out a prime viewing spot before the crowds grow. Mon., 1:00 pm. Gaithersburg. Free. All ages. Event details.

Crisfield National Hard Crab Derby
Feeling crabby? Gather the kids and head out to the Eastern Shore for this kitschy crab-themed festival full of activities for the whole family—shellfish lover or not. We’re talking crab races, crab cooking and picking contests, carnival rides, a parade, beauty pageant, and fireworks. Come hungry, as Crisfield is home to dozens of seafood restaurants. Fri.-Sun., 9:00 am. Eastern Shore. $3. All ages. Event details.

Maryland Renaissance Festival
Hark now! The intersection of Route 450 and Crownsville Road in Crownsville, Maryland has been transformed into a 16th century English village, filled with crafts, food, live performances, a jousting arena and games for the whole family. There’s a lot to see, but if you don’t get through it all during your first time around, don’t worry—the festival takes place every weekend through Oct. 20. Fare thee well! Sat. and Sun., 10:00 am – 7:00 pm. Anne Arundel County. $17 for adults/ $8 for children 7-15. All ages. Event details.

D.C.

D.C. Blues Festival
Jam out with the family at this free annual festival, which features live music from local and national acts including Albert Castiglia, Big G, and Fast Eddie and The Slowpokes. Pack a picnic and make a day of it, or find a seat in the 3,700 seat outdoor amphitheater to enjoy just one or two bands. Sat., 12:00 pm. Rock Creek Park. Free. All ages. Event details.

Kennedy Center’s Page-to-Stage Festival
Preview some of the Kennedy Center’s 2013-2014 season in this event featuring several family-friendly readings by local playwrights and rehearsals of upcoming performances. It’s a great way to gauge your kiddos’ interest in theater before you shell out for tickets. And the best part? It’s open house-style, so you can come and go as you please (without having to wait for intermission). Sat.-Mon. Foggy Bottom. Free. All ages. Event details.

Virginia

Virginia Scottish Games
Your great-great-great grandfather may (or may not) have had ties to Scotland. It doesn’t matter; families with all kinds of cultural backgrounds will appreciate this annual festival that celebrates the Scottish heritage of the Commonwealth. The draw is the highland athletic competitions, which include stone, caber, and sheaf tossing (how cool is that?!). Kids will also want to check out the antique car show, the craft booths and the live music (think: bagpipers). Sat. and Sun., 9:00 am – 6:00 pm. The Plains. Adults $20/ Kids 5-12 $5/ Under 5 Free. All ages. Event details.

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What are you up to this weekend?

—Ayren Jackson-Cannady

Photo courtesy of Maurice Sanders via Flickr