It’s your congressionally mandated day of rest: Enjoy your Labor Day!

A teachable moment

First things first: Explain to your kids what Labor Day is, why we celebrate, and why it means they should be at their least annoying come Monday, please, dear God, just this one day.

About Town

  • Redmoon’s Meet J.O.E.
    at Belmont Harbor
  • Chicago Jazz Festival
  • Pierogis, anyone? The Taste of Polonia festival, turning 30
    this year, kicks off Friday on Chicago’s Northwest Side. The main
    stage is at 5216 W. Lawrence. More information.
  • The Willis
    Tower Skydeck
    has extended hours for the holiday weekend.
    It will be open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. (an extra hour on either

Your crib notes: Labor Day comes on the first Monday in September and, along with overtime pay and teacher tenure, is one of the most enduring successes of the labor movement. According to the U.S. Labor Department, Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, was the first to propose a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

While most Americans no longer make their living delving or carving, Labor Day has been a federal holiday since 1894, and celebrated by local parades, barbecues and the swift descent of summer nostalgia.

As you’ll patiently explain to your kids, being their parent should come with two weeks paid vacation. But until that day comes, you’ll take your first Monday in September and thank them in advance for being on their best behavior.

On your way now

Now that that’s done, Chicagoland is teeming with things to do on your long weekend. Our top pick: Meet J.O.E., a mishmash of entertainment and events taking place at Belmont Harbor along Chicago’s lakefront this weekend. It’s a production of Redmoon, a sometimes bizarre, always unpredictable theatre group (think a lower-budget Cirque de Soleil) based in Chicago.

In the Labor Day spirit, the event’s website promises “activities of leisure” like hula hoops, lawn bowling, three-legged race and Chicago’s largest tug-of-war. We’re most intrigued by The Luminarium, described as “an ephemeral cathedral of light” and “a sanctuary of the senses:”

For more information and a full list of family entertainment acts, visit ourevent listing.

Jazz it up

The Chicago Jazz Festival, the city’s longest-running annual festival returns to Millennium and Grant Parks for its 32nd year. Four stages will offer free jazz music, including the Young Jazz Lions Stage, where bandsfrom Chicagoland high schools and colleges will perform. If you’ve been looking for new ways to get your kid to practice the clarinet/trumpet/tuba (tuba?), here’s your chance.

Finger-lickin’ good

Like Memorial Day, summer’s other bookend isn’t complete without a good family cookout. So stock up on the napkins and check out these three grilling recipes:

Honey BBQ Chicken

This chicken is a Sunday dinnertime staple at writer Karyn Bowman’s house, where cooking together is half the fun. Get cooking!

Dad’s Favorite Ribs

A little brown sugar, a little paprika, a little tin foil, and presto! Well, almost. This summer classic is as much fun to make as it is to eat. Get cooking!

Grilled Tilapia with Mango Salsa

This fish recipe comes from reader Andrew Sexson, who says: “Tried this, the kids LOVED it!” Get cooking!

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