The Golden State's college students welcome Labor Day as a final holiday after the start of school. Others, who have already left summer vacations behind to go back to work, enjoy this three-day-weekend for a bit more rest. Where do Californians go to celebrate Labor Day?
"Conquer the Bridge Race" in San Pedro
Angelenos know San Pedro as a port city. Conquer the Bridge attendees recognize it as the premier opportunity for racing five miles in the gorgeous Mediterranean climate that has put California on the tourism map. The USATF-sanctioned race begins promptly at 8:05 a.m. on Sept. 5.
The length of the race spans 5.3 miles; it takes place on the Vincent Thomas Bridge. Register on race day, but do not plan on competing with a canine companion or baby stroller -- both are forbidden by organizers. The race has a closed ending of 11 a.m.; any racers still on the bridge by 10:30 a.m. will be picked up and taken to the finish line. You cannot lose!
Attend the Sonoma Wine Country Labor Day Weekend
Beginning Sept. 2, wine connoisseurs travel to Sonoma's MacMurray Ranch for the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend. The event highlights local wineries, which have made a name for themselves because of their fanciful creations as well as superior tastes. Dinner parties, luncheons and wine auctions are just some of the highlights. The major event is the 32nd Annual Taste of Sonoma on Sept. 3.
Labor Day Weekend Fireworks at Great America
Forget Southern California's Disneyland or Knott's Berry Farm; Santa Clara has Great America, a Northern California favorite among theme park visitors. There are rides, roller coasters, live stage shows and of course the famous Boomerang Bay Beach Club. On the night of Sept. 4 the park will erupt in fireworks displays. Round out the day's visit by sticking around for the display at 9:30 p.m.
Catch the Big One on Free Fishing Day
Money worries or not, the California Department of Fish and Game will not skimp on its two free fishing days; this year the second day falls on Sept. 3. Since plenty of Californians make Labor Day a final weekend of camping and outdoor activities -- in part because school and extracurricular activities are bound to take up ample time in the coming months -- free fishing is a money-saving way of adding more fun.
Free Fishing Day lets anyone fish without a valid sport fishing license; however, do not push your luck! Report cards are still mandatory when fishing for steelhead, abalone, sturgeon and spiny lobsters.
Sylvia Cochran is a Los Angeles area resident with a firm finger on the pulse of California politics. Talk radio junkie, community volunteer and politically independent, she scrutinizes the good and the bad from both sides of the political aisle.