Shreyas Saboo / The Daily Gamecock

Labor Day 2019 around Columbia and beyond

Labor Day weekend is upon us, providing a beautiful reprieve from the onslaught of work, be it the professional or home variety. For students, it marks the first, seemingly well deserved, long weekend of the school year. With all that extra free time – well, 24 hours of extra free time, to be exact – you might be wondering what to do with yourself. Rest assured, there are plenty of different ways one can spend the weekend. 

Those looking for a holiday-specific event can stop by the Chapin Labor Day Festival any day this weekend. On Saturday, the event opens with the Justin Pepper Foundation 5k. Walk, run or "ruck" – a term for carrying a weighted backpack – for a cause. Later that night, a Tokyo Jo concert will be held on Beaufort Street, benefiting We Care, and on Sunday night Noel Lindler and the Bank Walkers will perform a concert. Rounding out the weekend of festivities is a 9:30 a.m. Labor Day parade followed by a classic car show. Over 130 vendors will be present, and three bounce houses will also be onsite.

A more personalized weekend excursion can be found at Lake Murray. Grab some friends, sunscreen and a cooler full of age-appropriate drinks and spend the day at the lake. Rentals are scattered about the area, offering boats, jet skis, tubes, canoes and just about anything else one could possibly need on the lake. 

The only thing better than a man-made body of water is an actual oceanside beach, of which South Carolina has many. If you have the means to do so, one-up your Lake Murray friends by taking a road trip to any one of Carolina's coastal destinations: Myrtle Beach, Kiawah Island, Folly Beach, Pawley's Island, Hilton Head Island. The list truly goes on and on, so take your pick and start planning now. It's only a matter of time before the exams start piling on and the temperature drops, so take advantage of the weather while you can.

Back in Columbia, Blue Bike SC has bike rentals stationed throughout the city. The process is fairly simple: Use a credit card to either pay for temporary ride access or download the app and set up a subscription. The bike rentals are open 24/7, providing a fun activity on a day when most places will be closed. Check out the Riverfront Park station for a particularly scenic ride along the Broad and Congaree rivers.

For those already feeling the mental strain of a single week's worth of classes, perhaps the weekend is best spent in. Take a nap, eat some Pop-Tarts and stay in bed until you absolutely have to peel yourself away. Sure, friends might be planning some adventurous outings, but take some time to focus on yourself if need be. Mental health should always remain a top priority, as should Pop-Tarts.

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