This article was published in 2016. Here are 2018 Memorial Day Weekend ideas
Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for everyone who has died serving in the American armed forces. The holiday, originally known as Decoration Day, started after the Civil War to honor the Union and Confederate dead.
Memorial Day weekend has also become synonymous with burgers, pool openings, and the ceremonial beginning of summer. From music festivals to ceremonies to honor fallen heroes to baseball games, there are plenty of activities across metro Atlanta this Memorial Day weekend.
Here’s a look at some of those events:
Gwinnett’s Fallen Heroes Memorial ceremony
Honor Gwinnett’s fallen soldiers during the annual ceremony at the county’s Fallen Heroes Memorial. The event, held at 1 p.m. Monday, will include the addition of a new name to the memorial — fallen Buford native Kyle Gilbert. Entry is free. The Fallen Heroes Memorial is located outside the Gwinnett County courthouse.
Gwinnett County Justice and Administration Center, 75 Langley Drive, Lawrenceville. www.gwinnettcounty.com.
A canoe trip down the Chattahoochee
Spend Memorial Day on a relaxing trip down the Chattahoochee with the family. Join a naturalist for a morning paddle (9 a.m.-noon) and you’ll be back at home in time to prepare for any summer kickoff cookouts. Chattahoochee Nature Center provides all equipment, including canoes. Ages 6-adult; $30 general public/$25 CNC members.
There is also a family canoe day from 10:30 a.m.-noon Saturday. It’s a 90-minute introduction to canoeing, great for first-time paddlers, families with young kids, or adults coming back to the sport. CNC provides all equipment for participants. Advanced registration required. Ages 5-adult; $15 general public/$10 CNC members. Registration deadline for both events is Thursday. Register by e-mail: email@example.com, or call 770-992-2055, ext. 237.
Chattahoochee Nature Center. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. http://chattnaturecenter.org/.
‘Red, White, Bluegrass and Bach’ in Suwanee
Head over to Suwanee’s Town Center Park on Friday night for this annual event, which features members of the Fort Benning Silver Wings team parachuting onto the lawn. Live patriotic and bluegrass music will be featured, as will food trucks. Entry is free and festivities begin at 7 p.m.
Suwanee Town Center Park, 330 Town Center Ave., Suwanee. www.Suwanee.com.
The Gwinnett Braves are at home this weekend and will offer their usual postgame Friday night fireworks — plus a bonus round of fireworks on Monday. Saturday’s game will feature a camo hat giveaway to the first 2,500 fans. Friday’s and Saturday’s games start at 7:05 p.m., Sunday’s starts at 2:05 p.m. and Monday’s game is at 6:05 p.m. Tickets for most games start as low as $9.
Coolray Field, 2500 Buford Drive, Lawrenceville. Gwinnettbraves.com.
Ceremony at Marietta National Cemetery
More than 10,000 veterans are buried at the Marietta National Cemetery. Honor them Monday by attending the annual ceremony that features patriotic music, speakers and more.
The event begins at noon and admission is free. Maj. Gen. Edison E. Scholes will be this year’s keynote speaker.
Marietta National Cemetery, 500 Washington Ave. N.E., Marietta. nmdaga.org/program.htm.
Yaarab Shrine Circus and Carnival
The annual circus and carnival, now in its 74th year, is back at Marietta’s Jim R. Miller Park, and it’s open through Monday. Enjoy more than 40 rides, midway games and a flea market in addition to multiple circus shows each day.
Gates open at 5 p.m. through Friday; 10 a.m. Saturday, noon Sunday and 10 a.m. on Memorial Day. Gate admission free for children under 10, $7 for adults.
Jim R. Miller Park, 2245 Callaway Road, Marietta. 404-419-6775, www.yaarabshrine.net.
Brew at the Zoo
Sample over 70 beers and wines and enjoy live music while checking out the animals at Zoo Atlanta. Enjoy “Atlanta’s wildest Memorial Day festival tradition” on Saturday night.
General admission tickets are $43 for non-zoo members and $38 for members. VIP tickets are $85, regardless of membership status. Gates open for general admission at 5:30 p.m., VIP begins at 4:30 p.m.
Zoo Atlanta, 800 Cherokee Ave. S.E., Atlanta. zooatlanta.org/home/article_content/brew.
Six Flags Over Georgia
Memorial Day weekend marks the debut of the new DC Super Friends kids area, which with Bugs Bunny Boomtown offers a total of 12 rides and attractions aimed at the park’s younger guests but which the entire family can enjoy. Also new for 2016 is the New Revolution virtual reality experience available on the Dare Devil Dive coaster. Old faves include Great American Scream Machine, Thunder River and Superman: Ultimate Flight. Hurricane Harbor, Six Flags’ in-house water park, is open too.
Hours: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday; 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday; 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday. Call or check website for remaining operating schedule and park hours. General admission at the gate is $64.99 for adults and $44.99 for children under 48 inches tall, but discounts abound; save $20 on adult tickets at www.sixflags.com/overgeorgia. AAA and some credit unions also sell discounted tickets. Children 2 and younger are admitted for free. Discounts available on the park’s website.
Six Flags Over Georgia, 275 Riverside Parkway, Austell. 770-948-9290, www.sixflags.com/overgeorgia.
Stone Mountain Park: Memorial Day Weekend — Salute the Troops
An extra-long fireworks finale synced to music tips the drill sergeant hat to those who have served our country, both past and present. The Lasershow producers are building on last year’s enhanced fireworks and flame cannons — which send blazing bursts nearly 100 feet. The Lasershow Spectacular will showcase a new segment titled “Drone Wars: The Mountain Awakens,” featuring a parody of a galaxy far, far away telling a classic story of good versus evil — with good ultimately prevailing. Some guests may want to hit the park before the sun goes down and check out other attractions including Summit Skyride and Geyser Towers. All active and retired military with valid ID receive a complimentary Adventure Pass, discounted tickets for immediate family, and 20 percent savings on food and merchandise. The following are the hours for Memorial Day weekend: 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Lasershow with fireworks: 9:30 p.m. Friday-Monday. Adventure Pass: $24.95-$29.95 with discounts available online. Note: You don’t need an Adventure Pass to go only to the laser show and fireworks (only the parking pass for vehicles to enter Stone Mountain Park, which is $15 for a daily parking pass or $40 for an annual parking pass).
Stone Mountain Park, 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd., Stone Mountain. 1-800-401-2407, www.StoneMountainPark.com.
Atlanta Braves game
Celebrate Memorial Day with an Atlanta Braves game (playing against San Francisco Giants) featuring special ceremonies including five giant stars being on display in the outfield, each star representing a branch of military. Each star will be held by members of that branch; active military members will line the base paths along with both teams for the national anthem and USO representatives will hold a giant American flag in the outfield (USO is celebrating its 75th anniversary). The Memorial Day game starts at 1:10 p.m. There are also games on Saturday and Sunday, and Sunday’s 5:05 p.m. game will feature a concert by country music sensation Chris Stapleton after the Braves take on the Miami Marlins. Single-game tickets start as low as $7.
Turner Field, 755 Hank Aaron Drive S.E., Atlanta. www.atlanta.braves.mlb.com
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Reporter Tom Kelley contributed to this article.