FARGO — Gooooood morning (or afternoon, or evening — I don't know your life), wonderful people of the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo area and all the inhabitants of the internet!
It is I, your friendly neighborhood Forum writer, here to spew more notions on how you should spend your time properly.
We are coming up on the last hoorah of summer — the Sunday of the summer, if you will. Labor Day.
The first Labor Day was celebrated in the U.S. on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City. It was planned by the Central Labor Union and a parade of over 10,000 workers taking unpaid leave marched from City Hall to Wendel's Elm Park for a concert, speeches and a picnic. Nowadays, we celebrate the contributions and achievements of the millions of men and women in the U.S. workforce.
For many, this holiday is a day of barbecues, sports games and family time. For Minnesotan children and teachers, it means the last day of freedom before another school year begins. But with so many fantastic options, how do you, people of the community, want to spend your free Monday?
Well, lovely folks, I am here to help you celebrate Labor Day right. Here are 5 things to help you get the most out of the first Monday in September.
Labor Day is full of sports opportunities.
In Fargo, you can head to Newman Outdoor Field, 1515 15th Ave. N., to check out the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks as they take on the Railroaders from Cleburne, Texas. First pitch is at 1 p.m. Monday, and families can even enjoy a stadium dog for only $1!
Following the game, point your car south and take the fam to test their competitive spirit at Thunder Road, 2902 Thunder Road S., Fargo. For $30, guests will get a wristband that covers unlimited go-kart rides, as well as use of the facility's batting cages, bumper cars, laser tag and mini golf, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Kids still have a bit of energy? Burn it off with a jumping session at Sky Zone, 940 40th St. S., Fargo. Try out some ultimate dodgeball or flip into the foam zone for a soft landing. Not into the competition but still wanna show off your sick skills? The freestyle jumping area offers massive wall-to-wall trampolines to unleash your inner Olympic gymnast. You even get cool socks!
Although our wonderful fall weather has not been super conducive to a full-blown barbecue, there are still elements that can work in cooler temps.
Firing up the grill to cook up some autumn veggies and dishes can help get your palate ready for the rib-sticking, hearty meals that will keep you warm come winter.
Pork chops and chicken thighs are two classic and versatile meats that can be paired with many sides to bring out any season. To keep the summer vibes flowing, try fried potatoes and corn on the cob with a nice summery salad. Feeling fallish? Slap some mashed potatoes next to that bad boy and call it a day.
Cooked garden veggies are also fantastic on the grill. Trust me. Plop them in some tinfoil with some Lawry's seasoned salt, pepper, garlic salt and a TINY pat of butter, fold up the foil to create a package and toss them on the grill until they're tender. Mmh, now I am starving.
Like I said before, Labor Day is generally the mark of the end of the summer when the gears start to change to school.
Growing up, our last day of summer would usually mean my sister Stella and I coming home from tennis practice to a big family dinner and a chat about classes and schedules for the upcoming week. We'd all fight about who had to clear the table and do the dishes until my mom finally gave up and did them herself — prompting all of us to feel bad and do all of them.
After that, we'd retire to the living room and watch a TV show or movie until it was time to hit the hay to prepare for our first day of school. Things like picking out the perfect outfit and preparing to see your friends after a long summer break were some of the best feelings ever.
Of course the day of the first day was no different. We'd wake up to a big breakfast, courtesy of Papa Corwin, followed by the annual first day of school picture by the post on the front porch of our home in Roseau, Minn., and finished with scrambling to get out of the house so Mamma V wouldn't be late. It's one of the strongest memories I have of my time at RHS. We even still take the first day of school photos, except they now take place in Duluth, Minn., (Stella), Fargo (me, obviously) and now Bemidji, Minn. (baby freshmen Gustav). Mother Mary forgets to add my picture to her Facebook post, but that's what the comments are for, right?
Getting ready for that first big day is one of the most exciting, nerve-wracking and slow days of the year. Take the time to chat with the littles about any fears or anxieties they have. Try establishing a routine to make the transition easier, and remind the shining students about how fantastic it can be to get ready for school. (I'll even give you permission to lie to them a bit — getting up early isn't fun, and we all know it.)
Home improvement folk
In case anyone is wondering how I am going to spend Labor Day, it's this. I have walls to paint, carpets to vacuum before my new furniture gets delivered, a spare bedroom to organize, and the list goes on and on. #HomeownerProblems.
But really, what could be a more productive use of time? A whole day off of work to put the nose to the grindstone and get rollin' on some much-needed housework, like cleaning, organizing and painting. It's going to be wonderful, and I am willing to bet my lovely boyfriend is going to wish our old plans worked out for us.
Listen, people. This weekend could possibly be the last weekend of decently nice weather. You have a free day, so take advantage of it.
There are so many places to visit that are right outside the city limits. Head over to Detroit Lakes, Minn., and take a last dip in the lake and enjoy a pizza from Zorbaz. Don't want to swim? Check out the Chahinkapa Zoo in Wahpeton, N.D., and get yourself in the game day spirit by swinging by Corso's enclosure.
There are so many opportunities to make the last day and weekend of summer a good one. After all, it won't be long until the snow starts a-flying.
Friday 5 is a weekly column featuring quick tips, tricks, ideas and more — all in bunches of five. Readers can reach Forum reporter Emma Vatnsdal at 701-241-5517.