Castaic Lake draws Labor Day crowds 

Crowds gather at Lake Castaic on Labor Day 2023. Trevor Morgan / The Signal.

Many Santa Clarita residents spent Labor Day weekend relaxing, grilling, traveling or, like hundreds of others, going to Castaic Lake to beat the heat.  

The weekend was riddled with confusing weather — off and on rain accompanied by muggy conditions. But Labor Day was the first day of the whole weekend that sunny and warm temperatures returned to the Santa Clarita Valley.  

Classic Labor Day activities could be seen at the lake as people with their families and friends cooked for one another, played football in the sand or took a dunk in the cool water.  

Mathew Adams, a Newhall resident at the lake with his wife and kids, said it was the first time he’d been to Castaic in over 40 years. Adams used to be taken there by his parents once upon a time and, on Monday, everything came full circle with his children.  

Raymond Lugo fires up the grill at Castaic Lake on Labor Day 2023. Trevor Morgan / The Signal.

While sentimental about being back at the lake, Adams was a bit more cheeky with the holiday itself, particularly when asked about what his favorite part about it was.  

 “Having the day off, not laboring,” said Adams.  

His wife, Jeana, said this particular Labor Day was a first for her.  

“Well, I’m a nurse. So this is actually my first Labor Day where I’m not required to work,” said Jeana.  “I just switched jobs. I got my doctorate and now I’m doing a nursing desk job.” 

According to lifeguards working at the lake, at least 300 other people were also enjoying not having to work while at the swimming beach on Monday.  

Grilling is a common pastime and was done frequently at Lake Castaic on Labor Day 2023. Trevor Morgan / The Signal.

A brief history of Labor Day 

Labor day is the annual celebration of the social and economic achievements of American labor, according to the United States Department of Labor.  

The holiday was unofficially celebrated by labor activists and some states in the late 19th century. New York state was the first to introduce a bill, but Oregon was the first to officially recognize Labor Day on Feb. 21, 1887. Several states followed and by 1894 Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September a legal holiday, which was signed into law by President Grover Cleveland.  

Several beach sports, including soccer, football and volleyball, were played at Lake Castaic on Labor Day 2023. Trevor Morgan / The Signal.

To this day, it’s still disputed as to who the actual “founder” of Labor Day actually is, but the Labor Department says Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, and Mathew Maguire (unrelated), one-time secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists. The dispute has never been settled, but both attended the first-ever Labor Day Parade in New York City on Sept. 5, 1882.  

“American labor has raised the nation’s standard of living and contributed to the greatest production the world has ever known and the labor movement has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy,” read the Labor Department’s web page on the history of the holiday. “It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pays tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership – the American worker.” 

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