Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Traditions

Labor Day. Doesn't it seem like the beginning of "fall?" Young people go back to school, teachers back to work, seasons begin to change.

Michigan hosts two really interesting Labor Day traditions each year. One is the Mackinac Bridge Walk. Held every year since the bridge opened in 1957, it is a pilgrimage to Michiganders, one which must be made at least once in your life. We have walked the bridge as a couple twice, but my husband has done so more often.
It means getting up very early to get in line to ride a bus to the side of the bridge from which the walk starts. Of course, if you are staying on that side, you just need to get there early. One side of the bridge is closed to vehicle traffic for most of the morning, and the governor of the state leads the way. It's really a very exciting event.

For those of you who don't know about this fabulous bridge, it is the connector between Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas. Prior to it's completion 52 years ago, the only way you could travel between the peninsulas was by ferry. The Mackinac Bridge is 8,614 long, and the longest suspension bridge in the Western hemisphere. That's a 5-mile walk, so participating is not for the faint of heart. As you walk the bridge, you are crossing two of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, where they meet.

And it's beautiful.

Another Michigan tradition is the Dal-Mac race. This is the Dick Allen Lansing to Mackinac bike race which die-hard cyclists, and those who just like a good ride, participate in each Labor Day weekend. The goal is to reach the bridge and ride it, prior to the bridge-walk day (always Labor Day Monday).

The race has regular stopping places, where town residents bake cookies, serve juice and water, and generally afford a chance to rest and recoup along the journey. It's quite an amazing community event, as the bikers wind their way through each town along the way.

What traditions do you have - celebrated on a regular basis, or only once a year?


Char said...

I can't say that we really have labor day traditions - these are really cool. ours are more christmas and thanksgiving oriented.

joyce said...

A 5 mile! Bridges freak me out....I almost get a mini panic attack going over them. Hmmm...yearly traditions....well, there's the christmas ones, what else.....I can't think of any right now!

Kamana said...

we dont celebrate labour day, but we do have several traditions that we celebrate both as a community and/or as a family. and thinking about some of them, made me realise how they all seem to involve food of some kind. .... or maybe i am just remembering only food-related traditions as i am starving hungry at the moment :)

Sean said...

Traditions are important. A reminder of why for the most part... as an emmigrant we dont participate in many which is a shame... this one looks really nice!

ols1 said...

Great photo of the bridge. I like the angle - you really capture the enormity of it. The colour is interesting too - I like the blue hues.

Slices of Beauty... said...

Love these.

Celebrating beauty daily is one tradition of mine!

Happy Friday.

Sandy K. said...

These traditions are "unusual," but in the state of Michigan we do celebrate the diversity of our environment. It's a beautiful state. We, as a family, have done the bridge walk, but not the bike ride. I love family traditions, usually surrounding holidays, and food, Kamana. The place we all hang out tends to be the kitchen. Go figure:).

kendalee said...

I love the idea of the bridge walk! I feel quite removed from most traditions... I'm far away from my family, and traditions and annual festivals don't seem to have as much significance to me as they used when we could share them.