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Labor Day Weekend Offers Low-Key Events

Many residents want to stay close to home for this last weekend of the summer, and they have many local events to choose from.

Although some people see Labor Day as an opportunity for picnics, parades or perhaps one more quick trip to the beach, if you're anything like Takoma Park resident Anne Nelligan, you may plan on taking it easy this three-day weekend.

"I have no special Labor Day plans," she said. "My husband and I are both teachers. We have children in school, and school now starts before Labor Day. So Labor Day is for the transition from vacation to school and work."

Montgomery County schools began the new academic year Monday, just one week before Labor Day itself, and many parents just want to ease back into the swing of things.

"We're taking Labor Day to just relax and take it easy," said Neil Chalofsky, a George Washington University professor. "I don't want to bother with the traffic. So it's not a good time, necessarily, to go away."

Even if you're like many residents who plan on lazing their way through the holiday, that doesn't mean you have to be a total homebody. There are plenty of options for a laid-back weekend in Takoma Park and nearby.

If art is your thing, you can tour Montgomery College's Student Art Exhibit at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Take the opportunity to see the local talent now before the show closes on Sept. 10.

Downtown Silver Spring's FRESHFARM Market will be open Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Ellsworth Drive, between Fenton Street and Georgia Avenue. Pick up your latest batch of locally grown, farm fresh produce and meats, as well as flowers, pastries, pasta and honey.

While you're at it, make your way up a few blocks to the Fenton Street Market, at the corner of Fenton Street and Silver Spring Avenue, and browse their selection of crafts, artwork, handmade jewelry and soaps, used books and old furniture. The market will be open Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine. Free parking is available in public lots across Fenton Street.

If you'd rather stick really close to home, the Takoma Park Farmers Market is on as usual Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Carroll Avenue and Laurel Avenue. Pick up all your usuals, then make your way just a few blocks to the Big Bad Woof at 117 Carroll St. from noon to 2 p.m. That's the location for a Meet and Greet with Greyhound Welfare, a greyhound rescue and placement group that finds homes for ex-racers throughout the metropolitan area. They will have dogs available for adoption and will gladly answer any questions you have about the breed.

If a BBQ at home or a local park is indeed on your agenda, you can make a preemptive strike against any unwanted pounds by showing up at downtown Silver Spring's first Early Bird Fitness Series on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Instructors Robyn Osborn and Deborah Levy will lead a free bootcamp-style fitness class, no special equipment needed. The class is open to anyone 15 years and older and all fitness levels are encouraged to attend. Just come prepared to exercise in appropriate workout clothes and sneakers, and bring a water bottle. The classes will be held the first Sunday every month after that. Feel the burn early in the day, then feel free later to add that extra burger and beer to your plate at the picnic.

If you're more in the mood for a multicultural experience, downtown Silver Spring is also the site later in the day Sunday for the Jewish New Year celebration sponsored by Ohev Sholom, The National Synagogue. Enjoy a live concert by Yaakov Chesed, a Jewish band that describes its music as combination of "rock riffs, traditional Jewish tunes, funky bass lines and inspirational Hebrew and English lyrics to make an original, spiritual sound." The event will also feature a used book sale, a beekeeping demonstration, a High Holiday arts and crafts fair and a moonbounce for the kids.

The City of Takoma Park isn't offering anything in the way of picnics or parades on Labor Day itself. All offices are closed and city workers said there is nothing planned. But if the holiday just isn't the same without a parade of some kind, nearby Kensington is holding one starting at 10 a.m. Monday, followed by a fair at Howard Avenue and Armory Avenue. The parade begins at St. Paul Street and Plyers Mill Road and ends at Fawcett and Mitchell streets. Enjoy the marching bands, then get your fill of carnival-style treats like funnel cakes, hot dogs and ice cream at the fair. It's also the site of crafts, vendors and a stage with live performances by the Wheaton Studio of Dance and Gigs Guitar School, among others.

If you rely on public transportation, during the weekend from 10 p.m. Friday through 1 a.m. Tuesday. Metro said normal service will resume on Tuesday at 5 a.m. You may want to consider looking into bus routes as an alternative.

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