we're the oldest labor day festival in the south!
Canton's Labor Day festival began in 1906 as a celebration of the Western North Carolina worker whose grit and fierce determination led to the construction of the Champion Fibre Company paper mill that would persevere through a great depression, two world wars, and two buy outs. Today, many of the manufacturers that opened shop in the region in the same era as the Canton mill have vanished, swept out by globalization and replaced by a new tourism and healthcare economy. However, Canton's mill is going strong. Now a subsidiary of Evergreen Packaging, the mill employs 1,200 workers and boasts 600 union jobs. With a $90 million payroll, Evergreen is a formative economic driver in the region. The mill makes things that circle the world, from the Starbucks paper coffee cup that adorns your office desk to the orange juice carton in your fridge. It is one of longest-operating mills in the United States and is uniquley positioned adjacent to a downtown. Like the mill, the Canton Labor Day Festival has not missed a beat. In 2020 the mill workers and wider community will celebrate the 114th festival, continuing Canton's bragging rights of hosting the longest running Labor Day festival in the south.
Come to downtown Canton on September 6th-7th and experience a living, breathing manufacturing town with unmatched authenticity and pride. Celebrate Canton's unique manufacturing legacy and all things made in Western North Carolina.
Canton and the Evergreen mill are leaders in the Made in America movement. Support their efforts by visiting: