Labor Day Weekend Fun: Richmond County Fair, Tugboat Race, Unicycle Festival, Carnival

Labor Day Weekend 2016 NYC Events & Activities Families, September 3-5, 2015

This post is being updated for Labor Day Weekend 2016. Please check back for the final version.  

With NYC kids heading back to school next week, the Labor Day weekend is always a little bittersweet. Families should make the most of these last few carefree days and thankfully there is is a ton of fun to be had over the three day weekend in NYC, to help you do just that.  Head to Governors Island to give one-wheeling a try at NYC's annual two-day unicycle fest, participate in the Jr. West Indian American Carnival Parade, enjoy old fashioned fun at the Richmond County Fair, or hit the perfect-for-preschoolers West Side County Fair.   Labor Day weekend also means the end of the outdoor beach, pool and sprinkler season, so you may want to make one last trip to enjoy one of those while you still can.  

Speaking of trips, our Family Travel Guide has what to do in Boston, PhiladelphiaNiagara Falls, the Adirondacks, Hershey, and of course the Jersey Shore and Long Island's East End, along with other great destinations for the three day weekend, if you are looking for one more summer trip.  We've also got a number of day trip ideas and even some local camping options.  

Read on for all of our Labor Day weekend picks. You'll find additional suggestions in our Event Calendar.  Wishing you a fabulous end of summer!

All Weekend

Richmond County Fair – Staten Island
A September GoList pick: A real old-fashioned county fair takes over Historic Richmond Town for the three day weekend, featuring multiple performance stages with live rock, country and acoustic music, and carnival-style fun such as pig races, pie- and hot-dog eating contests, classic car displays, arts and crafts, and a midway with rides. The best part is that all the activities are free with admission.

NYC Unicycle Festival – Governors Island
Another September GoList pick: Head to Governors Island to give one-wheeling a try, or stay on two feet and watch unicycle basketball, hockey games and sumo, and pros in some grueling competitions. Afterward, check out all of the other cool attractions on the isle. Saturday and Sunday only. FREE


Saturday, September 3

West Indian American Day Carnival and Children’s Parade – Crown Heights
And another September GoList pick: The five-day West Indian American Day Carnival culminates in one of NYC’s largest parades on Labor Day, and while it's a colorful affair, it's also crowded and noisy. The Children’s Parade on Saturday is a better bet for families. Kids of Caribbean descent don elaborate garb as they travel through Crown Heights and onto the grounds of the Brooklyn Museum for a costume contest and carnival. FREE for the parade, $2 to enter the museum grounds

See all Saturday events

Sunday, September 4


West Side County Fair – Upper West Side
Yup, another September GoList pick: Perfect for preschoolers, this annual favorite features small carnival rides and games, live music, sideshow performers, live animal shows and a smattering of country vendors. It gets crowded fast, so arrive early to try to avoid lines. Afterward, grab a bite at the Pier I Cafe or head a few blocks north to romp in Elephant Playground. FREE

Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition – Midtown West
Our final September GoList pick for the weekend: Watch 15 tug boats race from Pier I in Riverside Park South down to Pier 84, where there will be knot-tying and spinach-eating contests, live music and other nautical-themed fun. The races and competitions take place in the Hudson River and can be viewed for free, but for the best vantage point, splurge on tickets for the Circle Line spectator boat that follows the tugs. FREE from the shore

Central Park Conservancy's Family Performance Festival: What Do We Know About H20?—Central Park
The seasonal family performance series wraps up for another year with an interactive water-themed performance by Mad Science. FREE

Brazilian Day – Midtown West
Celebrate the culture of Brazil at this annual fest featuring live performances and food stands in NYC's own Little Brazil. FREE

See all Sunday events

Monday, September 5

Habana Outpost Back-to-School Bash – Fort Greene
Get ready to go back to school at the restaurant's annual celebration featuring activities led by some of NYC's favorite kid-centric businesses, plus complimentary class supplies. FREE

Race Around the Farmyard – Prospect Park
Bring your competitive spirit to Lefferts Historic House for friendly potato sack and spoon races, stilt-walking and other old-fashioned fun. FREE


See all Monday events

Don't forget: There's more fun to be found in our Event Calendar.