The first day of fall is not for a few weeks, but Labor Day represents the unofficial end of summer. The season ends with a bang in New York this week, with unicycle and performing arts festivals, a county fair in the city, and an art opening for a multimedia group exhibition. Or for a Labor Day weekend getaway, head to a Rhode Island clambake and squeeze in some final beach time.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.
September 1–4 | Unicycle festival
NYC Unicycle Festival
Proving for the seventh year running that unicycles have a place beyond the circus, the NYC Unicycle Festival takes place over four days all across the city. Check out long-distance rides, workshops, unicycle hockey and sumo wrestling, and more. The Hell on Wheels trials course challenges riders to extreme feats on Governors Island on Saturday. Whether you want to participate or spectate, this is a festival you’ll definitely remember for years to come.
Times and locations vary | Free | website
September 3–5 | Escape the city
Rhode Island is one of the ultimate summer getaway locales in the Northeast, so why not say good-bye to the summer season with a ferry trip to beloved Block Island? It’s famous for its spectacular beaches and sunsets, but this weekend there’s even more reason to head there: the annual Lion’s Club Clambake. Get a true taste of New England as local vendors serve up lobsters, clams, mussels, chowder, corn on the cob, sausages, and even burgers and hot dogs. If you can, spend the night at the historic Ocean House.
September 4 | County fair
West Side County Fair
A county fair in the middle of Manhattan? It might sound a bit incongruous, but that’s part of the fun! Celebrate Labor Day weekend with a full day of carnival rides and games, sideshow performers, aerialists, a reptile show, live music, and plenty of food. It’s all the action of a county fair, but only a subway ride away.
1–6 p.m. | 66th to 70th Sts. in Riverside Park, New York | Free | website
September 7 | Art opening
Few things feel as New York as an art opening. This week, head to BRIC in Brooklyn for the opening of group exhibition Material Cultures, in which eight contemporary artists were inspired by textiles to create sculptures, performance art, installations, fashion design, crocheted works, and more. Exhibiting artists include Laura Anderson Barbata, Xenobia Bailey, Lucia Cuba, Adrian Esparza, Elana Herzog, Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia, Sophia Narrett, and Marela Zacarias.
7–9 p.m. | Gallery at BRIC House, 647 Fulton St., Brooklyn | Free | website
Through September 18 | Performing arts
Dream Up Festival
Now in its seventh year, Theater for the New City’s Dream Up Festival once again celebrates the whole range of performing arts. With 19 productions and 14 world premieres, there will be a mix of performances, including comedy, musicals, drama, and the experimental. Check out Missana, a musical reimagining of a classic Indian film from the 1970s, or Daniel Schwartzman’s Words and Music, a film about two aging New York City actors.
Times vary | Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave., New York | From $15 | website
A native New Yorker, Katherine is a freelance food and travel writer who has eaten her way across the globe and is always on the lookout for her next great meal. She is an avid reader, insatiable traveler, sometimes photographer, and mom to an inquisitive toddler.