Celebrating Labor Day? This tribute to American workers, first celebrated in 1882 and an official holiday since 1894, gives most gainfully employed citizens a long weekend and an easier start to the workweek. After all, nobody complains about how rough Tuesday mornings are.
If you have the day off, enjoy this unofficial end to summer with whatever degree of slackerness suits you. If you're looking for a reason to get out of the house, here are a few events going on around the region. Some are Labor Day traditions; others mark summer's last hurrahs.
* Red Bank Masonic Lodge 717 is hosting its Labor Day barbecue from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. inside the Red Bank Community Center, located behind Erlanger North Medical Center on Morrison Springs Road. The pork plates come with a bun, slaw, baked beans, dessert and iced tea for $10, dine-in or take-out. Bulk meat and sides also are available. Proceeds go to the lodge's charity fund for various community needs.relatedarticlethumb
* Signal Mountain Lions Club will be serving barbecue, a tradition since 1960, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Althaus Park behind Signal Mountain Golf and Country Club. A $10 plate includes barbecue, beans, slaw and bread. Pitch in an extra $50 for the chance to win a car in a raffle. The winner, drawn at 1 p.m., gets a choice of a Ford Fiesta, Nissan Versa or Chevrolet Spark from Mountain View Auto Group.
* Union Gospel Mission has expanded its barbecue fundraiser to a second location this year. Meals will be served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at New Haven Baptist Church, 1058 Graysville Road, one block off East Brainerd Road, and at Friendship Baptist Church, 1005 Gadd Road in Hixson. Meals are free, but a donation is encouraged to help the mission continue providing meals, shelter and clothing to men struggling with addiction, homelessness and other life-controlling issues.
* Chattanooga Lookouts play the last home game of the regular season against the Montgomery Biscuits today. The game starts at 2:15 p.m. at AT&T Field, 201 Power Alley. This midday Businessperson Special offers a lunch voucher for a hot dog, chips and drink with the purchase of a ticket for $11. Kids 12 and younger receive a voucher for a free hot dog and soft drink. For more information, call 423-267-4849.
* SoakYa: Lake Winnepesaukah will turn off the water jets today at its SoakYa water park, so there'll be no more Coke Float, Crazy River or Zoom Flume until next spring. You've still got time to hit the dry side, though. The amusement park will be open Saturdays and Sundays through September, as well as Friday and Saturday nights in October for the haunted attraction Lake WinnepeSpookah. Hours today are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. for SoakYa, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. for the rest of the park. Admission, good for all attractions, is $34.95 plus tax per person. 706-866-5681, www.lakewinnie.com.
* Labor Day at the Post: Entertainer James Rogers headlines an afternoon of music, food, arts and crafts vendors and children's activities from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Barnhardt Circle polo field in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga. The music schedule includes gospel singer Aimee Garner at 11 a.m., rock band Midnight Promise at noon, country singer/songwriter Austin Zackary at 1 p.m. and Rogers from 2 to 4 p.m. Admission is free. There's a small fee for the Children's Zone, which includes bounce houses, My Fun Train and pony rides. A mobile petting zoo will bring an alpaca, miniature horse, goats, sheep and a mini zebu cow and pig.
* Labor Day Picnic & Family Festival: The Knights of Columbus, Father Patrick Ryan Council 610, offers not only a barbecue picnic but a free family festival from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Camp Columbus, 8601 Camp Columbus Road in Hixson. This is the 75th year for the fundraiser, which includes carnival-style games (white elephant sale, cake booth) and a charity bingo game at 2:30 p.m. The Almond Butter Band and other local acts will provide music. The barbecue meal will consist of a choice of beef, pork or chicken with potato salad, beans, slaw and bread for $9 adults, $5 children. You can purchase beef or pork in bulk for $9 a pound or ribs for $17 a slab.
Whether your taste runs to old-time, big band or gospel, there are places to enjoy sets by local performers today.
* Cartecay Vineyards, 5704 Clear Creek Road in Ellijay, Ga., will welcome blues singer Travis Bowlin from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. on the Chimney Patio (inside the Tasting Barn hay loft if it rains). The Nashville-based Ohio native recently completed his first international tour to Australia. The concert is free. A $10 wine tasting includes five samples and a logo wine glass. 706-698-9463, www.cartecayvine yards.com.
* The Coconut Room, 6925 Shallowford Road, hosts the Monday Night Big Band at 7:30 p.m. No cover. 423-499-5055.
* J&J Restaurant and Lounge, 2208 Glass St., features Old School at 7 p.m. No cover. 423-622-3579.
* Rafael's Italian Restaurant, 5032 Ooltewah-Ringgold Road in Ooltewah, will host gospel singers Lloyd Gilreath, Linda Trotter and Marcellus Scott from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. 423-356-9260.
* Rock City, 1400 Patten Road, winds up its Summer Music Weekends today with live music by Matt Downer and Highbeams, as well as birds of prey shows in the Critter Classroom. Downer, aka the Old Time Traveler, plays a high-energy brand of traditional music, rotating through fiddle, banjo, guitar and vocals in a typical performance. Highbeams is the trio of brothers Adam and Ian Pendlington and Stephen Quinn, who have coined the term "adventure rock" for their love of venturing into the musical unknown. The park is open 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is $22.95 adults, $12.95 children 3-12. 706-820-2531, www.seerockcity.com.relatedarticlethumb