Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer, heralds the beginning of festival season, great concerts, and delightful outdoor adventures.
If you’re lucky enough to be able to be in the D.C. area this weekend to celebrate the warm weather and the onset of the new season, consider attending a few of these local events.
Friday: The National Gallery of Art's revered Jazz in the Garden series returns for al fresco music and wine in the Sculpture Garden on Friday evenings from 5 p.m. throughout the summer season. This weekend bring a blanket, a picnic and cash for sangria by the pitcher.
Fri/Sat/Sun: Spend a summer evening watching the Washington Nationals. The Washington Nationals will challenge the San Diego Padres at Nationals Park for three consecutive days: Friday, May 26 at 7:05 p.m., Saturday, May 27 at 4:05 p.m. and Sunday, May 28 at 1:05 p.m.
Sat/Sun/Mon: Hometown Holidays at Rockville Town Square. Highlights include “Taste of Rockville" Saturday-Sunday noon-10 p.m., a music festival Saturday-Sunday 2-10 p.m. featuring live performances on four stages by the Nighthawks, Lloyd Dobler Effect, Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band and others, Reptiles Alive!, RTC Dancers, inflatables, and amusements, plus a Memorial Day Parade on Monday 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Saturday: Takoma Porch Music Fest. The fifth annual event features more than 40 musicians and bands playing on the porches of more than 20 houses and local businesses as well as the gazebo in Old Town. See website for a list of bands and locations. Takoma Park Gazebo, 7041 Carroll Ave. Takoma Park, MD. 20912, 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Saturday/Sunday: The D.C. area’s largest strawberry festival, the Delaplane Strawberry Festival, offers two full days of family-oriented fun in Northern Virginia including live entertainment, children's games, pony rides and hayrides, a petting zoo, a 5K fun run, a raptor exhibit, antique cars and lots of food and crafts. Held at Sky Meadows State Park, a beautiful and historic site which is right on the Appalachian Trail, also allows for hiking. Sky Meadows State Park, 11012 Edmonds Lane Delaplane, VA, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily.
Sunday: National Memorial Day Concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol, 8 p.m. Hosted by Laurence Fishburne and Joe Mantegna, PBS' annual concert features musical performances, documentary footage and dramatic readings that honor the military service of all our men and women in uniform. This year includes performances by the National Symphony Orchestra, military bands and choruses, and celebrity guests: Renée Fleming, General Colin L. Powell, Vanessa Williams, Auli’i Cravalho, Scotty McCreery, Five for Fighting, John Ortiz, Mary McCormack, Robert Patrick, Christopher Jackson, Ana Ortiz, Ronan Tynan and Russell Watson.
Sunday: Honor vets at Rolling Thunder. This Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally brings together motorcycle riders from all over the U.S. to honor POWs and MIAs who served their country during the Vietnam War. This “ride for freedom,” which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, draws more than 900,000 riders, featuring a route that starts at the Pentagon and winds through West Potomac Park. The rally goes down on Sunday, May 28 at 8 a.m.
Monday: The National Memorial Day Parade ushers marching bands, youth groups, floats, performers and, of course, veterans, down Constitution Avenue. This televised parade is the largest of its kind in the U.S. and honors those who have served or presently serve in the U.S. military. This year's parade is scheduled for Monday, May 29 at 2 p.m. Arrive early for the best viewing options.