Memorial Day — it's a solemn holiday but tends to have a hedonistic twist. Here's a starter to help you experience the zaniness and seriousness of the weekend:
Bands on the Sand Rock out Memorial Day weekend for the sixth year in a row. The weekend will feature eight showstopping music groups of various genres with Rev. Funky D’s Home Team Family Orchestra and Come Back Alice headlining. The event will also include dozens of arts and crafts vendors, plenty of food and drink and a fireworks display May 24 at 8:50 p.m. Free. May 24-25, 1 p.m. May 24-25, 1-9 p.m. Treasure Island Beach, Gulf Boulevard and 104th Avenue, Treasure Island. mytreasureisland.org.
Celebrate with punk rock, burgers and PBR at the Local 662 and Fubar. Event attendees will get complimentary burgers while supplies last. For more information and updates visit the event’s Facebook page. Attendees must be 21 years or older. $13.75. Sat., May 24, 4 p.m. 600 Block of St. Petersburg, Central Avenue, St. Petersburg. 727-822-5665. Read Leilani's story in Ear Buds here.
Bay Pines VA Memorial Day Ceremony
The Bay Pines VA Medical Center holds its annual Memorial Day ceremony at Bay Pines National Cemetery; 3,000 are expected to attend. There will be a performance by the Clearwater High School Marine Corps Junior ROTC silent drill team, as well as musical performances and a firing salute. Mon., May 26, 10 a.m. Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, 10000 Bay Pines Boulevard, North Bay Pines. 727-398-9426.
Carry the Load
Acknowledging the "load" soldiers carry on duty and the load we all carry to hold them in our memories by participating in an annual walk. 9 a.m. Mon., May 28, Al Lopez Park, 4810 N Himes Ave., Tampa, carrytheload.org
Pub Second Annual Memorial Day Recall Proceeds go to the American Widow Project, a non-profit organization providing support to military widows who have lost a spouse in the armed forces. Mon., May 26, noon-5 p.m. 5112 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa. 813-988-8656. myspace.com/coppertoppub.
Curlew Hills Memory Gardens Memorial Day Service
Visit gravesites decorated with American flags and hear a presentation by Capt. Gregory Amira, Ret. U.S. Army Special Operations, and others. 9:30 a.m. Mon., May 26, Curlew Hills Memory Gardens, 1750 Curlew Road, Palm Harbor.
Florida Aquarium’s Memorial Day Weekend
On Saturday through Monday, all active duty or retired military can get two free tickets to the aquarium. Additional family members (up to four people) can receive $10 admission. 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa. flaquarium.org
Free Admission for Military Personnel to Lowry Park Zoo
Enlisted and retired military personnel can get in free to the park on Memorial Day with Department of Defense ID. As many as three direct dependents of military personnel also are entitled to free admission. Mon., May 26. Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 W. Sligh Ave., Tampa. 813-935-8552. lowryparkzoo.com
Glazer Children’s Museum Memorial Day Heat Wave
Take the kids to a dance party all weekend long. May 24-26. Glazer Children’s Museum, 110 W. Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa. 813-443-3861. glazermuseum.org
Light Up Channelside
Spend the evening at Channelside and enjoy a variety of food trucks, live music by CooCooCaChoo. Event starts at 6 p.m.; fireworks at 9 p.m. Sun., May 25. funintampabay.com
Tampa Margarita Festival
You don't have to waste away to enjoy America's favorite tequila-spiked cocktail. Gates open at 1 p.m. and the bands include Thomas Wynn and the Believers, Amber Lynn Nicol, Los Lonely Boys and more. Fireworks at 9:45 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 day of event. tampamargaritafest.com
6th Annual Memorial Day Family Funfest
The Armed Forces History Museum’s family-friendly event has activities for the whole family to enjoy, like rock climbing walls, bounce houses, military dress up, bungee jumping and more. With feature presentations such as reenactments, swing dancers and color guard. $10 for adults, $5 for youths 4-12. Mon., May 26, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Armed Forces History Museum, 2050 34th Way N., Largo. armedforcesmuseum.com
Memorial Day Concert and Tribute to Veterans
Derric Johnson’s Liberty Voices (EPCOT performer and group) headline a Memorial Day Concert and tribute to veterans. Also performing will be the Steinbrenner High School Band. Food and drinks are available for purchase. Mon., May 26, 2 p.m. Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, 600 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa. tampa.gov
Memorial Day in Downtown Clearwater
Join the local community and families for a parade and memorial service honoring and celebrating our veterans and military members. Mon., May 26, 2 p.m. Station Square Park, the 600 block of Cleveland Street, Clearwater. 727-692-5152. clearwater.gov
Memorial Day Sunset Ceremony
Officers and other vets post color with music, wreath presentation and keynote speaker Marvin L. Hill. 7 p.m. Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive, largo.com
Oldsmar Freedom Fest
Honor the brave men and women who faced the ultimate sacrificed in protection of our freedom in downtown Oldsmar. The festival will feature live local bands, food and beverage vendors, arts and crafts, and more. $2 general admission, 12 years and under free. May 23-25. State Street, downtown Oldsmar. 813-855-4233. oldsmarfreedomfest.com
or facebook.com/OldsmarFreedomFest .
The Henry B. Plant Museum Military Families Day
In honor of Memorial Day, military families and their guests are welcome to enjoy the museum, a live performance at 2 p.m. and refreshments served on the veranda on Sun., May 25, noon-5 p.m. Exhibits include original artworks from private collections, period sporting goods, clothes and décor, as well as a permanent Spanish-American War exhibit and mementos from Teddy Roosevelt’s frequent visits. $5 donation adults, $2 kids. University of Tampa, Tampa. 813-254-1891. plantmuseum.com
Pickin’ Picnic to Rock Bradenton’s Riverwalk
The Memorial Day music showcase at Bradenton’s Riverwalk Pavilion will also feature food trucks, an art auction and a demo from local breweries. Bring blankets, chairs and other picnic necessities; food and drink will be available for purchase. Sun., May 25, 2-10 p.m. Riverwalk Pavilion, 452 3rd Ave. W, Bradenton. 920-216-7833. realizebradenton.com
Polk Museum of Art
The museum has announced its participation in the Blue Star Museum program that offers free admission to all active-duty military personnel, their spouses and children from Memorial Day, May 26, through Labor Day, Sept. 1. Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and more than 2,000 museums across the nation. A complete list of the nation’s participating museums is available at arts.gov/bluestarmuseums
The annual event celebrates the beginning of summer with music by the Horny Toads from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. and more. Fri., June 6, 6-10 p.m. Harry’s Beach Bar at the Sirata Beach Resort, 5300 Gulf Blvd, St. Pete Beach. 727-363-5125. sirata.com/calendar/special-events/sand-dance
7th Annual Sand Bar Concert
Riviera Bay resident Hal Hammer Jr. and The Cross Creek Blues Band will perform their sand bar show this Memorial Day. This family-friendly event is located at the sand bar in “P” Channel, between Weedon Island and the Tanglewood neighborhood. One must use a boat/canoe/floating device to reach the sand bar; though nearby, there is no access from Wheedon Island Preserve provided. Free. Sun., May 25, 1-4:30 p.m. Weedon Island Preserve, 1500 Weedon Island Drive, St. Petersburg. 727-453-6500.
Shepard’s Memorial Day Weekend
A mainstay for holiday weekend partiers, the waterfront spot brings music acts Ten, a Pearl Jam tribute band, on Friday; B.o.B, All the Answers and Orange Avenue on Saturday, and Hot Chelle Rae, Rixton, DJ Skribble, Goshfather & Jinco and others on Sunday. DJs Nova, Arock, Deville and ku spin on Monday. May 23-26. Shepard’s Beach Resort, 619 S. Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater. $30 for weekend passes. shephards.com
A Stars and Stripes
Hit Parade Celebrate Memorial Day weekend with The Florida Orchestra with overtures, marches and American favorites. The concert will include an Armed Forces Salute, Washington Post March, Colonel Bogey March, Yankee Doodle, Copland’s Hoedown and Saturday Night Waltz, music by John Williams and more. Performances will be help May 23, 8 p.m. the Straz Center; May 24, 8 p.m. Mahaffey Theater; and May 25, 7:30 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall. $15-$45. May 23-24, 8 p.m. May 25, 7:30 p.m. 727-892-3337. floridaorchestra.org
Veterans Memorial Museum and Park
Permanent exhibits include Florida Soldiers Walk Through Time: 1590s-1990s, featuring Florida soldiers and American history from the 1590s through Desert Storm and a Spanish-American War exhibit. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Park hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily. 3602 U.S. 301 N., Tampa. 813-744-5502.