ITHACA, N.Y. (WENY) -- Over the years, Labor Day has gained a significance of marking the "unofficial end" to summer, but it didn't always mean the kids are headed back to school and you need to stock up on Halloween candy. The first Labor Day was celebrated in 1882 in New York City, then in 1894 Congress declared it a national holiday. 

Villages, towns and cities all across the country have their own way of celebrating the day. That rings true as well in Tompkins County. On Monday, the Tompkins County Workers' Center (TCWC) held its 36th annual 'Labor Day Picnic.' This year, the event was held at Stewart Park and featured a theme of solidarity. 

"We've got a lot of things happening here in Tompkins County, Ithaca, with workers organizing in the workplace so it really celebrates them and what we're doing collectively and it's kind of like our Christmas if you will in a certain sense. This is our big holiday!" explains Pete Meyers, TCWC Coordinator. 

The picnic is free to attend and includes food, raffles, live music and more. 

"It's really a sacrifice of a lot of your life at work. Hopefully you love your job -- it's not always the case, so I feel like it's good to support all the people who work so hard and long hours and sacrifice so much," says Ithacan Adam Levine. 

"It's a wonderful celebration. I'm happy to be part of it. It's something to be celebrated because the Workers' Center provides such great service to the workers in our community," says Eric Levine, CEO of Alternatives Federal Credit Union. 

Information tables from other local organizations, unions and activist groups were also on hand, all as a way to help build connections. 

"I mean this is an important contribution to society, to be working, whatever it is you're doing. Whether you're a nurses' home health-care aid or whether you're working at a gas station or whether you're working as a reporter or whether you're working in all the various things that we could be doing," Meyers says. 

"We all need to respect and celebrate all the contributions that we each, individually make to society," adds Meyers. 

People attending the park event today in Ithaca were also encouraged to bring their  own plates and silverware in order to create as little waste as possible.