Five fun things to do over Labor Day weekend

Native Plant Rescue Squad

It’s summer’s last hurrah. It’s the unofficial start of fall. Depending on how you want to look at it, Labor Day weekend is a closure, or a new beginning. But before you turn the page, why not build some fun into the long weekend. Here are five options to consider: 

1. First Friday: Downtown galleries and businesses will celebrate the start of September with their monthly First Friday festivities — new exhibits are opening with receptions at the Emporium Center, Dogwood Arts, UT Downtown Gallery, Candoro Marble building, and Art Market Gallery, among others. Grab a mask and enjoy the fun!

2. Labor Day Sunflower Project: Would you rather help create art than view it? Put the Labor Day Sunflower Project on your calendar. If you have sunflowers or sunflower seed heads in your garden, cut the stems at least a foot long and bring them along to the Knoxville Botanical Garden & Arboretum on Monday to weave them into an art installation organized by the Native Plant Rescue Squad in celebration of work. “The work we do and the support we provide for each other… is how we create what beauty we create in the Knoxville community,” the NPRS says on its Facebook page. The Sunflower Project was an annual effort from 2007 until 2015; now NPRS member Ashley Wagstaffe is reviving it. “It just felt right this year; especially because this last year and a half has been a challenge for our community and has been an isolating time for a lot of us,” she said. “I’m so excited to celebrate together the perseverance and work we all have done and to create something beautiful in the process.” The fun begins at 9 a.m.

3. The Odd Couple: Those mismatched roommates are at it again, but in the Theatre Knoxville Downtown production, it’s Florence Unger and Olive Madison who share the apartment and drive each other crazy. The show runs this weekend and next. Buy tickets here. Masks required.

4. Farmers Market: Time’s running out on farm fresh tomatoes and corn. Swing by the Market Square Farmers Market Saturday between 9 and 1, and then go cook up a summertime feast for your family and friends. Doesn’t have to be complicated with sliced tomatoes and corn on the cob on the menu!

5. Road trip: Maybe you’d rather pack a picnic and hit the road for a late summer sojourn. So many state parks surround us, from Seven Islands State Birding Park to the east to Cumberland Mountain State Park to the west. Add in Norris Dam State Park, Big Ridge State Park, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Fort Loudoun State Historic Park and it’ll take you the better part of the weekend to decide where to go! Check out all the options here

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