Some may prefer to hang out around the house and enjoy a three-day weekend. But for those willing to venture out a bit, Arizona offers fun options “in every conceivable place” on Labor Day weekend.
9/6: Brewery Gulch Daze
Believe it or not, Brewery Gulch in Bisbee once was among the rowdiest places between St. Louis and San Francisco, with 20 saloons and gambling halls that bustled with business from local miners. It still gets rowdy, particularly on Labor Day weekend. In Old Bisbee they like to say they party like it’s 1909 (get it? the year of the first national holiday?), dressing in period costumes for the Ol’ Miz Biz contest, watching the pet parade, bed races and now a belt-sander race; and sampling the kissing booth and chili cook-off. Belt sanding, now that’s a labor of love.
Details: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 6. 200 Review Alley, Bisbee. Free.discoverbisbee.com.
9/4-7: Coconino County Fair
No mention of cigars, but the rest of this celebration sounds as if it’s right out of the good old days. There are pie- and watermelon-eating competitions, a carnival, a demolition derby and livestock shows, all accompanied by artsy exhibits and plenty of deep-fried goodness.
Details: Sept. 4-7. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Sunday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday. Fort Tuthill County Fairgrounds, 2446 Fort Tuthill Loop, Flagstaff. $8; $5 for ages 6-12; free for age 5 or younger. 928-679-8000, coconino.az.gov/countyfair.
9/5-7: Flagstaff Art in the Park
Here’s a plan: After visiting the Coconino County Fair, drop by Wheeler Park downtown for this juried arts and crafts festival. Exhibitors will have one-of-a-kind designs on display, and there will be music by local musicians, children activities and food. Best of all, it’s free.
Details: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 5-6; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 7. Wheeler Park, 212 W. Aspen Ave., Flagstaff. 928-556-9498, flagstaffartinthepark.com.
9/4-5: Alpine Area Artisans Festival
If the Flagstaff area isn’t cool enough, chill in Alpine high in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona for Labor Day. Did you know Alpine is about 1,000 feet higher in elevation than Flagstaff? Stroll along Main Street at this festival where local and visiting artists display paintings, pottery, jewelry, sculptures and, apparently, “antler art,” just in case you’re in the market for a chandelier or coat rack.
Details: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 4-5. Alpine, U.S. 180 and 191. Free. alpinearizona.com.
9/5-7: Faire on the Square
It isn’t quite a cool as Alpine, but Prescott is a whole lot closer and still offers a break from the Valley heat. More than 100 artists will display their works around Courthouse Plaza. Look or buy, and if the kegs aren’t mounted there, Whiskey Row is just across the street.
Details: Sept. 5-7. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday. Courthouse Plaza, Prescott. Free. 928-445-2000, prescott.org/event/faire-on-the-square/.
9/4-6: Lake Havasu Tattoo Show
They say beauty is only skin deep. Well, yeah, so are nerve endings. Still, this annual celebration of the human canvas offers a different twist on Labor Day. Ink, piercings, “body modifications” — it’s all here. There also will be music, demonstrations, food and adult beverages, although drinking at a tattoo show invites a surprise in the morning.
Details: Sept. 4-6. 4-10 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday. $10; $20 for weekend pass; free for age 12 or younger. Aquatic Center, 100 Park Ave., Lake Havasu City. 928-232-0145, havasutattooshow.com.
9/5-7: Sonoita Labor Day Rodeo
Giddy up to the 100th edition of this annual event at the Sonoita Fairgrounds. Some 700 cowgirls and cowboys compete for $40,000 in cash and buckles in such cowpoke disciplines as bull riding, saddle-bronc riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing, bareback riding, calf roping and team roping. There are events for the little buckaroos, too, such as mutton busting. Then enjoy dinner, possibly featuring mutton, and a rodeo dance.
Details: 10 a.m. Sept. 5-7. 3142 State Route 83, Sonoita. $5-$10. 520-455-5553,sonoitafairgrounds.com.
9/5: Steamy Saturday at Grand Canyon Railway
Is there a better way to visit the Grand Canyon than by train from Williams? This is a special treat because it is one of the few times during the year when they fire up old No. 4960, a steam locomotive that has been rigged to run on waste vegetable oil. Slick! There are five classes of service from coach up to the hoity-toity Luxury Parlor class.
Details: 9:30 a.m.-5:45 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5. Williams Depot, 233 N. Grand Canyon Blvd., Williams. $75-$215. 800-843-8724, thetrain.com.
9/5: Willcox Flyer Bike Ride
Want to really earn that stop at the keg? This scenic, supported bike ride offers 33-mile and 66-mile out-and-bike options, plus an 8-mile fun ride for kids, families or beginners. Bicyclists will start at Willcox’s historical Railroad Avenue Park. The 66-mile route includes a gradual climb through the Dos Cabezas Mountains, drops down through rolling hills to the entrance of the Chiricahua National Monument, then returns to Willcox.
Details: 7 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 5. Railroad Avenue Park, 100 S. Railroad Ave., Willcox. $15-$50. azrocamotion.com/schedule.html.
9/6: Jerome Hill Climb
This is the 45th running of this race through Jerome. It’s a 4.5-mile run with just one hill. OK, so it’s 4.5-mile hill, but it’s worth it for the souvenir T-shirts and awards designed by local artists.
Details: 8 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 6. 100 Douglas Road, Jerome. $28. 602-684-1496,arizonaroadracers.com.
9/6: Louis Tewanima Memorial Footrace
This trail run honors Hopi great Louis Tewanima, who was the first Olympian from the Arizona Territory in 1908 and the first from the state of Arizona in 1912. He won a silver medal in the 10,000 meter race at the 1912 games. The main event is a 10K, but there are 5K, 2-mile and 1-mile options, too.
Details: 6 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 6. Village of Shungopavi baseball field, Second Mesa, Hopi Reservation. $15-$35. tewanimafootrace.org.