A large crowd came to the Friends of the Idyllwild Library’s annual Labor Day book sale last year. Books for a quarter and free VHS tapes were a big attraction.
Photo by Alan Belanger

Labor Day on the Hill has its own quintessentially small-town vibe. Although conceived as a federal holiday to acknowledge and honor the American labor movement, celebrated on the first Monday in September, the three-day weekend has morphed into an unofficial end-of-summer ritual — a last chance to vacation and party as a family before kids go back to school (though Idyllwild School begins earlier now).

But originally, during a time of “robber baron” exploitation and abuse of American workers, Labor Day emerged as a tribute to trade unions and labor movements that fought for dignity and fair treatment of American workers. And lest the reason for the holiday were to be forgotten, the fight for fair treatment by employers of American workers came with sacrifice and causalities.

Thirty died and 57 were injured when President Grover Cleveland ordered the U.S. Army and Marshal’s Service to intervene to stop the strike of workers at the Pullman factory in Chicago in 1894. Cleveland ordered the action because the strike had interrupted commerce and mail delivery. Following the deaths of strikers, the U.S. Congress unanimously voted to make Labor Day a federal holiday. Cleveland signed the legislation six days after the end of the strike.

In Idyllwild, in a tip-of-the-hat to the entrepreneurial spirit of U.S. workers, Labor Day weekend has become one of industrious selling of family treasures to on- and off-Hill shoppers. The frenzy begins on Friday with early shoppers combing the main and back streets of Idyllwild in search of that certain something that, to the shopper, has incalculable value. Check Town Crier ads and map for sale destinations.

In addition to private sellers, churches, synagogues and other organizations also host yard sales. The shopping activity usually concludes before Labor Day on Monday.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 2, the Friends of the Idyllwild Library holds its Sidewalk Book Sale.

From 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 2, Sons of the American Legion Post 800 host a barbecue with hamburgers, hot dogs and all the trimmings for $7 a plate at the post. That night, from 7 to 11 p.m., Mark Huston hosts karaoke.

From 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 3, the Idyllwild Rotary Club will serve a Deep Pit Barbecue at Town Hall.

At 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 3, the Associates of the Idyllwild Arts Foundation present a Fall Musicale of Classical Music with wine, champagne, appetizers and dessert at the Ponderosa Concert Hall for $35 a ticket. Reservations are required because of limited seating. All proceeds fund scholarships for the Idyllwild Arts Academy and Summer Program.

There will be music at all local watering holes and restaurants. Galleries and shops will be open. Check the Town Crier Arts and Entertainment calendar for more information. Temperatures are forecast to be unusually hot. Remember to hydrate as you celebrate and shop.