Labor Day parade through Cumberland, Maryland.

Only in Maryland: Historic Labor Day Events

09/01/2017
By Preservation Maryland

As Marylanders, we’re part of the great American tradition of Labor Day, when we take time off to celebrate our work and enjoy the leisure that comes from it. At Preservation Maryland, we’ve selected three great Labor Day events to help you get out and enjoy yourself.

Greenbelters in 1938. Photo from Library of Congress.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

The Greenbelt Labor Day Festival was started in 1955 as a way of raising funds to build a Youth Center. It has been held every year since by the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival Committee, one of the largest all-volunteer organizations in Maryland. The Festival and Parade brings you amusement rides, carnival games, live bands, entertainment, local food, sports like ping-pong and hoops contests, art and photo contests, a used book sale, a parade and more. Don’t miss the Retro Town Fair held at the Greenbelt Museum! The event runs all Labor Day weekend with free admission.


Confederate soldiers marching through Frederick, 1862. Photo from Library of Congress.

Walking Tour: Frederick Occupied

For one week in September 1862, the Army of Northern Virginia occupied Frederick before marching west. In that week, residents experienced a range of emotions, from elation to terror to indifference. It is after this occupation that culminated at the Battle of Antietam on September 17th in Washington County, Maryland; the bloodiest day in US military history with 23,000 casualties. The tour will start at 3pm on Saturday, September 2, 2017 outside of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.

Maryland State Fair. Photo from the Baltimore Sun.

Maryland State Fair

Since 1879, the Maryland State Fair has drawn people together over the Labor Day weekend to celebrate all things Maryland. Nearly half a million people attend the State Fair every year, continuing to make it the 11 Best Days of Summer. Celebrate Maryland’s agricultural heritage by visiting the Farmer’s Market, watching pigs race, or even learning to milk a cow! See the masterworks of chainsaw artists, participate in a karaoke contest, or listen to hot new artists perform onstage.


Preservation Maryland at the Tawes, 2017.

National Hard Crab Derby

Crisfield’s National Hard Crab Derby is an annual Labor Day weekend event! The unique crab themed festival features crab races, crab cooking and picking contests, carnival rides, arts and crafts, vendors, live entertainment, beauty pageants, a parade, fireworks and more. The festival begins Thursday evening with a carnival, runs through the weekend and ends Sunday night with a Gospel concert and fireworks. Many events are free. There is a $3 admission fee on Saturday.

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