Memorial Day Events 2017
Memorial Day weekend is here, a time for our country to remember and honor the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives to protect our freedoms. Being so close to the nation’s capital gives us a very easy opportunity to visit meaningful places to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice. See below for special events taking place in Washington, DC, and Northern Virginia to honor our military, as well celebrations that kick off the unofficial start to summer.
Washington, DC Events
On Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, 2017, the Vietnam Veterans Wall, the Korean War Memorial, the World War II Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and other sites will offer opportunities to remember and reflect will hold wreath-laying ceremonies and other special events.
There also is the famous National Memorial Day Concert broadcast live on PBS from the lawn at the United States Capitol. The free concert is on Sunday, May 28, at 8 pm (though it’s recommended you arrive much earlier if you want a spot) and features a star-studded line-up. Can’t make it on Sunday? Consider attending the free dress rehearsal on Saturday night, May 28, instead.
And of course there is the annual National Memorial Day parade in Washington DC on Monday, May 29. The parade is the largest Memorial Day event in the nation. The parade goes down Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Streets, going past the white house. The parade begins at 2 pm and commemorates service members from the American Revolution up to present-day conflicts.
Closer to home in Fairfax County, there are many ways for you to honor our heroes as well. Below we list some of them. Since Memorial Day is also the “unofficial” kickoff to summer, we also list special family-friendly activities taking place during this holiday weekend. See below for Memorial Day weekend events in Northern Virginia.
Northern Virginia events
Saturday, May 27: Star-Spangled Singalong
Kick off the holiday weekend with a Memorial Day Weekend concert by The Reston Chorale and Brass of the Potomac in a Star-Spangled Salute at the Reston Town Center, 7-11 pm. All are welcome to take part in a free sing-along of patriotic music in a salute to the troops, plus children’s activities and refreshments. Admission is free; donations of items for troop care packages are welcomed.
Saturday-Monday, May 27-29: ViVa Vienna! Festival
This is a fantastic, free festival sponsored each year by the Rotary Club of Vienna. ViVa! Vienna! celebrates the Vienna community and honors Memorial Day during this three-day fun festival. The funds the Rotary Club raises supports charitable, educational, and community groups the next year. The event in downtown Vienna includes a Memorial Day tribute (on Memorial Day Monday at 1 pm), children’s activities, carnival rides, food and craft vendors, and community booths. Live entertainment includes a main stage and a children’s stage with clowns, magic shows, and other popular artists such as Rocknoceros. You can see the full schedule here.
Sunday, May 28: Ride of the Patriots to Rolling Thunder
Fairfax, Virginia, to Washington, DC
Each year, members of “Rolling Thunder” and other motorcyclists, veterans, and supporters of the military join on a ride from Patriot Harley-Davidson in Fairfax to the Rolling Thunder in Washington DC, a weekend event to bring attention to Prisoners Of War and those Missing In Action (POW/MIA) of all wars. Patriot H-D and the Harley Owners Group sponsor this community event where more than 3,500 bikes from across Northern Virginia and the DC region, the United States, and Canada go on a police-escorted ride to meet up with more than 400,000 other bikers at Rolling Thunder in DC. The day’s events begin with a parade at 7:30 am, the presentation of colors, and remembrance remarks, and the ride starting at 9 am. This is a quite a sight to see and it’s a fun and free family activity. Get there well before the ride starts, as streets will close. In 2013, we arrived shortly after 8 am, parked in a lot a couple of blocks away, and found a shady spot along the route to watch and cheer on the riders as we waved our flags.
Sunday, May 28: Jimmy’s 20th Anniversary Bash and Bike Run
Fairfax, Virginia, to Washington, DC
Celebrate the anniversary of Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern and enjoy music all day. Motorcyclists are invited to head from Jimmy’s to Rolling Thunder in DC, returning then to Jimmy’s in the early afternoon. From noon until late at night, there will be live music indoors and outdoors, food, and merchandise sales to benefit K-9s for Warriors.
Sunday, May 28: Wolf Trap Summer Blast-Off
A great way to spend time with the family, honor our heroes, and celebrate the start of summer, the Wolf Trap Summer Blast-off is a great tradition. At this free community event, “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band will launch Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts’ summer season with a program of concert band favorites around 8 pm. A fireworks display will follow the concert around 9:30 pm. Please note: this is a very popular event and parking fills up early. Plan to arrive early to get a seat or a spot on the lawn and enjoy a family picnic dinner (you can bring your own or buy food there).
Monday, May 29: Falls Church Memorial Day Parade and Festival
Falls Church, Virginia
Each year the City of Falls Church remembers the fallen and celebrates the military with a memorial ceremony and community festivities. The all-day (9 am-5 pm) event at City Hall includes a veterans ceremony at the Falls Church Veterans Memorial, a Don Beyer 3K Fun Run, contests, and a lively parade down Park Avenue. Admission is free. Attendees also can enjoy live entertainment, amusement rides, pony rides, food vendors, art and craft vendors, and civic and business booths.
Monday, May 29: Ringing in Hope Race and Fun Run
This 5K race, 10K race, and 1K fun run and walk is held to “salute the troops.” Races take place at One Loudoun. After the races, celebrate with prizes, family fun, and festivities at the finish line.
Monday, May 29: Herndon Memorial Day Observance
The Town of Herndon hosts its annual observance ceremony at Chestnut Grove Cemetery. The event begins at 10 am with a color guard.
Monday, May 29: Manassas National Battlefield Park Memorial Day Observance
Join park staff at Groveton Confederate Cemetery in observance of Memorial Day for a musketry salute in memory of war dead. The ceremony begins at 12 noon.
Monday, May 29: We Remember: Preserving Family Histories of Service
Do you have letters, photographs, medals, uniforms, or other cherished remembrances from family members who served in the military? Experts from the National Museum of the American Indian and Library of Congress will talk with you about conserving your veteran’s documents and other keepsakes. Admission is free for this family-friendly event, 2-5 pm.
Monday, May 29: Memorial Day Jazz Festival
The 39th annual Memorial Day Jazz Festival in the City of Alexandria is a free afternoon of great music at Waterfront Park. The program, 1-6 pm, includes performances by the U.S. Navy Commodores, Rose Moraes, Dave Kline, Al Williams, and the Nitehawks. There will be food and beverages for sale.
… and of course this is the weekend when water parks open!
See our big list of all water parks in our immediate area (all are one hour or less of a drive)!
Text and photos (c) Fairfax Family Fun