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Best Free Labor Day Events In The Bay Area

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Free Friday Night Concert (credit: Randy Yagi)

Labor Day is just around the corner and many festive events will be held throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. And local celebrations are not just restricted to the first Monday of September. Indeed, there will be several things to see and do throughout the Labor Day weekend. If you haven't yet decided upon what you plan to do over this upcoming three or four-day weekend, here are some suggestions for the best free Labor Day events in the Bay Area.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Free Friday Nights Bands On The Beach
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
400 Beach St.
Santa Cruz, CA  95060
(831) 423-5590
Dates: Sept. 4, 2015

The Beach Boardwalk's final free Friday night concert of the season will feature the popular South Bay band Papa Doo Run Run. Best known for their covers of iconic surf music from the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean, the band was founded in 1965 in the South Bay community of Cupertino. Along the way, Papa Doo Run Run had a hit record in "Be True to Your School," two gold records and was Disneyland's Celebrity House Band for 15 glorious years. Performing for nearly 25 years at the Beach Boardwalk, Papa Doo Run Run, has toured with Jan and Dean and has performed and recorded with members of the Beach Boys, including Brian Wilson.

(credit: JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD/AFP/Getty Images)

Free Shakespeare In The Park
Presidio of San Francisco,
San Francisco, CA  94129
(415) 558-0888
Dates: Sept. 5-7, 2015

As part of the 33rd season of Free Shakespeare in the Park, the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival will present "Romeo and Juliet" throughout the Labor Day weekend. Each performance will be held at the Main Post Parade Lawn at Presidio of San Francisco, near the Walt Disney Family Museum. Cast members of the production include Carl Holvick as Romeo, Lauren Spencer as Juiliet and David E. Moore as Mercutio. The summer 2015 schedule for Free Shakespeare in the Park will conclude Sept. 27 at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheatre in McLaren Park.

Millbrae Art & Wine Festival Crowd (credit: Miramar Events)

Millbrae Art And Wine Festival
Broadway Ave.
Milbrae, CA  94030
(650) 697-7324
Dates: Sept. 5-6, 2015

Billed as the "Bay Area's biggest Labor Day weekend event," the Millbrae Art and Wine Festival is expected to attract more than 100,000 visitors to downtown Millbrae. Now in its 45th year, the popular, admission-free, Mardi Gras-styled festival will feature 250 talented artists and craft makers, artisan specialty foods, fine wine, craft beers and 10 live bands. Other highlights of the huge festival include a "Classically Cool Car Show," Talent Community Stage, Microbrew Tasting Tent, home and garden exhibits and the Kid's Playland. Among the music headliners appearing this year are Foreverland, Mustache Harbor, Reckless in Vegas, Extra Large and The Pulsators.


Union Square Live
Union Square
706 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA  94103
(415) 477-2610
Date: Sept. 6, 2015

Union Square Live will host its final Tango in the Square show, featuring the popular local Argentine tango band Orquestra Z. The Berkeley-based, non-profit band consisting of Wakeford Gong, Victoria Perenyi, Sandy Schniewind, Barbie Wong and director and lead singer Bendrew Jong are in their third year of performing Argentine tango in the Bay Area. The talented group presents their favorite compositions from the Golden Age of Argentine tango along with more contemporary compositions. Celebrating its 14th season, Union Square Live will host admission-free events through October.


Yerba Buena Gardens Festival
760 Howard St.
San Francisco, CA  94103
(415) 543-1718
Date: Sept. 6, 2015

The admission-free Yerba Buena Gardens Festival will host Dr. Anthony Brown and his Grammy-nominated Asian American Orchestra over the Labor Day holiday weekend. The free event will present Dr. Brown's new Asian-jazz-soul fusion composition "1945: A Year of Infamy" in commemorating the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The event will also feature Dr. Brown's gospel ensemble Voices of a Dream and award-winning poet and San Francisco native Genny Limm. The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival runs through Oct. 31.

Other Recommended Free Labor Day Weekend Events In The Bay Area:
Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on


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