You work hard all year, and unless you're also working hard this weekend at one of our local Labor Day festivals, your payback has arrived in the form of slack-jawed gawking opportunities and meat on a stick. The viewing and grazing options are many, beginning with Shakespeare in the Park's open-air production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, which runs at 1:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays (plus Monday, Sept. 7, and continues through Oct. 4) at Liberty Meadow, near the Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, S.F. Admission is free; call 422-2222. Blues singer Etta James, troubadour Janis Ian, and soul legend Percy Sledge headline Absolut a la Carte, a la Park, where champion ice carvers make art with chain saws and over 40 local restaurants serve their specialties from booths, accompanied by wine tastings and microbrews -- it runs 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily Saturday through Monday at Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park, S.F. Admission is free-$8.50; call 478-2277. At Blues & Art on the Bay, which has migrated from its traditional Polk Street location, local bands including Red Archibald & the Internationals and Nefertiti Jones & Her Afro Blues play live, and strolling art lovers can fortify themselves with gourmet sausages and teriyaki -- it runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily Saturday through Monday on Treasure Island. Admission is free Saturday and Sunday, $5 Monday (parking is $20); call 554-6242 for bus and shuttle information, 346-9162 for general information. The big news at the Sausalito Art Festival, besides the Computer Arts Pavilion, is the live sets from surf-rock pioneer Dick Dale and pop sensation turned experimentalist Todd Rundgren, as well as the Fabulous Thunderbirds -- it runs 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily Saturday through Monday at Marinship Park on the Sausalito waterfront. Admission is free-$12; call 332-3555. And finally, hairy men heave giant logs and nimble girls hop over swords at the 133rd annual Scottish Gathering and Games, where the live music comes from bagpipes and the meat arrives in a pie. It runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. Admission is free-$12; call (800) 713-3160. For more Labor Day event listings, see Calendar, Page 24.
-- Heather Wisner