Labor Day weekend is here, and many Southwest Florida residents are either busy making plans or already in the process of enjoying the three-day break from work.
Taking its place in U.S. history books as the first Monday of September, the holiday officially recognizes the “esprit de corps” of the trade and labor organizations of the community. The Labor Day celebration of the working class also marks the unofficial end to summer for some.
“All I know is I’m not working Saturday, Sunday, Monday or Tuesday. Hallelujah!” said Lynn Dick, a park attendant with Collier County Parks and Recreation. “We’re going up Sunday to Felda to have a barbecue and hang out with family.”
But others will be working most of Labor Day weekend as visitors and locals alike flock to local beaches here.
Lee Stryton, a pool attendant, interning from South Africa at the Ritz Carlton Beach Resort, is ready to work on Labor Day weekend.
“We are insanely busy at that time, as we are at an 80 percent occupancy,” said Stryton.
Jack Wert, executive director of Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau, also expects high occupancies for many hotels and resorts here.
“Labor Day is a good one for our destination, as September usually slows down for us a quite a bit,” said Wert, who tracks many of the visitors to Collier County. Wert said visitors mostly arrive from the state’s east coast on Labor Day weekend to visit the paradise coast.
“There’s a lot of ‘walk-in’ business, and people are not making advanced reservations. We’re starting to see a pattern of last minute plans here, and it has intensified after the Gulf oil spill,” he said. “So we’re trying to get the word out to anyone that the coast is clear, and the beaches are beautiful in Naples, Marco Island, and throughout Collier.”
It’s never too late to plan a Labor Day weekend to remember with special events offered here in Naples’ backyard.
Start celebrating as early as Friday evening at the Mercato’s monthly First Friday Concert, where music and entertainment fills the air from 6 to 9 p.m. throughout the upscale shopping area filled with boutique markets, shops, a movie theater, and fabulous restaurants.
On Saturday, Clyde and Niki Butcher will be leading their annual swamp walks in the Everglades. The nature walks, also known as “muck abouts,” offer a perfect opportunity to see bald cypress trees and wildlife up close with an award-winning nature photographer who calls the scenic Everglades his home. Reservations are required for this event and can be made at www.clydebutcher.com.
Throughout Labor Day weekend, Naples Kayak Company will also have kayaks available to rent at its locations throughout Naples, Isle of Capri and Goodland. A three-day weekend provides plenty of time to try kayaking for the first time. Visit www.saltwatersportsflorida.com/rent_shop.html for more information and to make rental reservations.
For families, Sun-N-Fun Lagoon has plenty to do on Saturday and Sunday. With more than a million gallons of water flowing from waterslides, waters buckets, children’s play areas, Turtle Cove for the older tikes, and a tadpole pool for little ones, too, the water park provides endless hours of fun for everyone.
Young singers can tune up their voices and try out for the Philharmonic Youth Chorale on Saturday. Singers between the ages of 7 and 17 are welcome to audition with their own sheet music in hand to audition for the upcoming season, where the Youth Chorale will perform with the Naples Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. The chorale practices every Saturday morning, with breaks that coincide with the public school calendar. For more information or to schedule an audition time, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make it a memorable Labor Day with a staycation at one of Naples, Marco Island or Everglades resorts, where comfort meets paradise without being too far from home. On Saturday and Sunday, the Naples Hilton and the team at Shula’s Steakhouse will be presenting their annual Labor Day poolside lunchtime barbecue, with drink specials offered throughout the weekend, too.
No matter what your plans are, make it a safe and happy Labor Day holiday. Collier Citizen wants to know what your Labor Day celebration looks like. Please send your photos or your favorite memory of your Labor Day weekend to email@example.com. Some photos may be featured in a future Collier Citizen.