Labor Day honors the contributions of workers, and what better way to celebrate than to remember the laborious efforts of workers in centuries past?
Ketchum and Sun Valley will showcase the hard work of those in the mining industry with its annual Wagon Days event, which kicks off Wednesday, Aug. 29. The annual festival has taken place in the mountain towns for more than 50 years, and it gets its name from the historic Lewis ore wagons, which quietly reside in the Ore Wagon Museum until they are brought to life as part of the Big Hitch Parade, the centerpiece of Wagon Days and one of the largest nonmotorized parades in the Northwest.
This year's events include a look at the mining and moving of ore in the Wood River Valley with historian Ivan Swaner on Wednesday, Aug. 29, performances by the Blackjack Ketchum Shoot-Out Gang in front of Ketchum's historic Casino Club, a children's carnival at Giacobbi Square and pancake breakfasts.
The coveted annual Silver Car Auction will feature all kinds of luxurious vintage rides up for grabs at Sun Valley Resort. The EhCapa Bareback Riders will demonstrate the saddle- and bridle-less horse-riding techniques of Native Americans and antique shows will fill the streets of nearby Hailey throughout the weekend.
The Big Hitch Parade on Saturday, Sept. 1, will feature the six gigantic ore wagons pulled by a 20-mule jerkline, accompanied by more than 100 buggies, carriages, carts, coaches and wagons that will transport throngs of visitors back to the days when Ketchum was more about mining than skiing and eating. The parade will be followed by live music throughout the town. Various other events wrap up Wagon Days Sunday, Sept. 2, and attendees migrate to Bellevue for more Labor Day Weekend fun Monday, Sept. 3.