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Best Labor Day Celebrations In The Bay Area

Summer should end with a bang not a whimper. Come Labor Day, perhaps you are planning a great backyard barbecue or maybe you just want to enjoy the spectacular scenery around San Francisco Bay. A drive into the Marin Headlands, a walk along Ocean Beach, a day trip to the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz or a coast drive down to Big Sur are among the possible adventures. If you want to share in a public celebration, here a few that are sure to please.
Millbrae Art & Wine Festival
Millbrae Art & Wine Festival (credit: Miramar Events)

Millbrae Art & Wine Festival
Broadway Street
(Between Victoria Avenue and Meadow Glen)
Millbrae, CA 94030

The "Big Easy" comes to Millbrae for this huge Labor Day weekend event as more than 100,000 festival lovers transform the charming downtown streets into a Mardi Gras-style feast featuring two sun-splashed days of live music, a juried show with 250 professional artists and craftmakers showing their latest handcrafted wares, festive food and drink, premium wines, microbrews, margaritas and mojitos, artisan specialty food, a microbrew tasting tent, an organic and green product showcase, home and garden exhibits, health and wellness displays, the "Classically Cool Car Show" and tons of fun for kids with the Streets Filled With Talent Music & Dance Showcase and a myriad of amusements in Playland. Free admission. Presented by the Millbrae Chamber of Commerce.

Related: Five Great Ideas for the Perfect Summertime Date

sf mime troupe

San Francisco Mime Troupe
Dolores Park
18th St. & Dolores St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 285-1717
www.sfmt.orgThe San Francisco Mime Troupe is a world renowned, much beloved politically focused theatrical company that has been active in the Bay Area since 1959. It has won all kinds of awards, and it is still going strong. Don't let the "mime" in the title fool you—this is not silent pantomime but highly charged (and very noisy) political satire designed to make audiences laugh and think. If your politics lean to the left (not unusual for San Francisco), you will certainly be delighted. Even if you don't like the politics, you'll probably enjoy the show that includes plenty of music and comedy. The group's last show of the season, always on Labor Day, is sure to attract a huge and enthusiastic crowd.

Conservatory of Flowers

Quiet Lightning Reading Series at the Conservatory of Flowers
Golden Gate Park
100 John F. Kennedy Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 831-2090
San Francisco is well known for its literary culture. Those in the know recognize the monthly "Quiet Lightning" as one of the premiere literary events in the entire Bay Area. Every month, Quiet Lightning devises an original show based on blind submissions that include work from some of the finest writers working in Northern California. Participants range from undergraduates to poets and novelists with worldwide reputations. It's always a surprise, and it's always good. Every summer, Quiet Lightning does a three-month residency at the magnificent landmark, The Conservatory of Flowers, in Golden Gate Park. On Labor Day, it will host a potluck picnic at 5 p.m., outside the Conservatory, which will include live music. The reading is at 7 p.m. and the first 100 attendees will receive a book featuring the work performed. And since Lagunitas Brewery is one of the sponsors, there will be $3 drafts available for adults. Be sure to come early enough to explore the Conservatory, an amazing collection of plants and flowers in a grand historical building.

Related: Best Summer Salad Recipe

sf shakes

San Francisco Free Shakespeare In The Park
San Francisco's Presidio - Main Post Parade Ground Lawn
Golden Gate National Recreation Area (between Graham St. & Keyes Ave.)
San Francisco, CA 94129
(415) 558-0888
www.sfshakes.orgFor many a culture vulture, summer wouldn't be summer without Shakespeare In The Park. The Bay Area can boast of a number of professional companies that do this. Free Shakespeare In The Park is one of the most popular. And why not? It's free. It is a professional company however, and the actors will not disappoint. This summer, it is performing "Macbeth" which is always good for a thrill. On Labor Day, the performance is at 2 p.m. at San Francisco's Presidio, one of the greatest of public parks.

Sausalito Art Festival
(Sausalito Art Festival)

Sausalito Art Festival
2400 Bridgeway
Sausalito, CA 94965
(415) 332-3555
Throughout Labor Day weekend, Sausalito will host its 61st annual Sausalito Art Festival with participating artists from all over the country. This festival includes multiple stages for musical acts, food, fun and all sorts of adventure. Live music will be on the concert stage throughout all three days of the festival. Typically, over 30,000 people attend this very popular event. It is considered to be one of the premiere outdoor artists' events in the world.

Charles Kruger is well known in the Bay area as "The Storming Bohemian" ever since he entered the Bay Area cultural scene in the summer of 2009, attending 90 cultural events in 90 days and blogging about it. This project was successful enough to warrant a mention in The New York Times. His coverage of Bay area theatre can be found at

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