Aaron Brown

Author Aaron Brown has a weekly blog called Minnesota Brown.

Aaron J. Brown is an author and blogger who lives in the Grand Rapids area. He writes the blog Minnesota Brown and hosts the Great Northern Radio Show on Grand Rapids-based Northern Community Radio.

Grand Rapids area ideal for Labor Day toast to summer’s end

Work hard, play hard. That’s the mantra people in Northern Minnesota follow to enjoy life in a land of big trees, blue water and — before too long — blizzards. No one likes to see a beautiful Minnesota summer slip away too soon, which is why planning a Labor Day trip to the Grand Rapids area is an ideal way to celebrate.

The first Labor Day festivities happened in 1882 in New York, before the day became a national holiday in 1894. Here in Northern Minnesota, where towns were built in the woods by the hands of laboring loggers, miners and tradespeople, Labor Day carries extra meaning. It’s an ideal place for a Minnesota family Labor Day vacation on a budget.

Bovey Farmers Day

Bovey Farmers Day has many family friendly activities.

The nearby Bovey Farmers Day, an annual parade and festival that started in 1911, is one of the state’s longest running annual events. Named for the agricultural tradition that surrounded this western Iron Range town east of Grand Rapids, Farmers’ Day brings food, games, exhibitions and the big parade down 2nd Street and 2nd Avenue. Bovey Farmer’s Day is Sept. 4-7, with activity all weekend in downtown Bovey, including a Saturday night street dance and Farmers Day parade at 10:30 a.m., followed by an afternoon festival.

Forest History Center Fire Tower

Aaron Brown’s son in the Forest History Center’s Fire Tower.

Grand Rapids is home to the Minnesota Historical Society’s Forest History Center. There you’ll see how the hard labor of tough men and women helped build America. The kids might even get a chance to cut some logs and learn when it’s OK to eat something called a “sweat pad” as they experience a re-enactment of a real Northern Minnesota lumber camp or climb a 100-foot fire observation tower. The facility is open Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hill Annex Mine

Children search for fossils at the Hill Annex Mine in Calumet.

Itasca County is also on the western edge of the Mesabi Iron Range. See how miners dug above and below the earth at Hill Annex Mine State Park in Calumet, also east of Grand Rapids. Labor Day weekend is the last chance to catch Friday or Saturday mining tours or tours of fascinating fossils uncovered at the park.

Pokegama Dam Recreation Area

The Pokegama Recreation Area is situated on the Mississippi River west of Grand Rapids.

You can also make your own fun on your Labor Day family vacation weekend in Grand Rapids. Have a picnic at the Pokegama Dam Recreation Area, or even camp overnight. Book a room in Grand Rapids for a pool party or a romantic getaway that doesn’t involve sleeping bags or propane. Go swimming at Blandin Beach at 10th Ave. and 6th St. SW to enjoy swimming and a playground with easy access to Grand Rapids Restaurants and Grand Rapids Shopping.

Labor Day is the last hurrah before school, fall, and the busiest time of year for many. Why not enjoy a Minnesota Labor Day vacation somewhere not so far away, where you won’t have to labor very hard to have a great time.  Download or request a Grand Rapids Visitor Guide today to plan your Labor Day Vacation.  Or you can speak live to a Grand Rapids travel information specialist at 1-800-335-9740.