'One Direction' performs at sold-out Soldier Field on busy Labor Day weekend

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One Direction has managed to sell out Soldier Field not one, but two nights this weekend. (WLS)

The airports are busy with tons of people getting out of town, and the highways are filled with record numbers of people taking advantage of low gas prices to get away.

But there are plenty of reasons to stay, including the African Festival of the Arts in Washington Park where you can find authentic arts and crafts.

In the suburbs, there is plenty of food and music in Naperville at The Last Fling, the annual festival to celebrate the end of summer.

Back in the city, you can take in plenty of food and music at the Taste of Polonia.

And Soldier Field was a magnet for girls who are fans of the boy band "One Direction." The band performed the first of two concerts Friday night. One Direction has managed to sell out Soldier Field not one, but two nights this weekend. And a couple miles north in Millennium Park, Jazz Fest is going on all weekend at the Pritzker Pavillion.

Labor Day weekend travelers crowd highways, airports

At Midway Airport, it's the busiest day of the holiday weekend and the Bryants have an exotic destination.

"We're headed to Aruba!" said Jackie Bryant, an air traveler.

Air travel is up 5 percent at Chicago's airports compared to last Labor Day weekend.

The Bryants have a special occasion.

"It's our 43rd wedding anniversary," said Alan Bryant. "We usually take this week to celebrate!"

And on Chicago's highways, Illinois State police are doing patrols all weekend, focusing on what they call the "Fatal Four," or speeding, seatbelts, DUIs and distracted driving. On the Kennedy near Montrose, officers parked on the ramp peered over at drivers stopped in traffic to watch for those on cellphones. A of 6 p.m., police said they had cited 95 people at that location for distracted driving since 2 p.m.

"It's even worse than fishing in a barrel," said Lt. Jeff Grendzinski of the Illinois State Police. "There are that many violations out there right now. If people are listening, please do not drive around with your cell phone in your hand."

This year, gas prices are at their lowest point since 2010.

"That is awesome! I will just drive 'till I drop!" said Jacqueline Witherspoon, a motorist.

But that's not the reason people are traveling more this weekend. AAA says folks are feeling better financially.

"They're spending the money on travel, but they are spending it on their credit cards," said Beth Mosher, AAA spokesperson. "They are willing to take on that credit card debt."

For many, Labor Day weekend serves as a final escape as summer comes to a close.

"You work hard all year, you deserve to go and enjoy the Labor Day weekend," Jackie Bryant said.

"You're never happy until you're back home with your family, and that's what I want to be, here with my wife and kids and safe back on American soil, just good to be home," said Capt. Chad Merfeld of the U.S. Army, an air traveler who arrived in Chicago from Afghanistan.
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