Memorial Day holiday is the remembrance and commemoration of members of the United States
military who died while serving their country while unofficially, Memorial Weekend brings the tradition that Summertime is here. We fill our weekends with friends and family, barbecues, beaches, swimming, sun and fun.

With so many things to fill our schedules, it’s always a great time to see a parade, visit a barbecue or go to some festivals. Some highlights to enjoy range from small to large and everything in-between with something for everyone and a great way to start the summertime season.

California:  For something a little unusual, check out the Triathlon of the Art World. Arcata’s Kinetic Grand Championship is a race that features bizarre people-powered sculptures. The race takes place in California’s Northern Coast from Arcata to Ferndale over Memorial Day weekend each year, across 42 miles of road, water, sand and mud.  http://kineticgrandchampionship.com/

San Francisco, CA:  A multi-cultural flavor is at this Memorial Day celebration.
San Francisco’s Carnaval ~ where the city’s Mission district is transformed into
a Latin celebration and Grand Carnaval Parade. It’s time to salsa and celebrate.  http://www.carnaval.com/sf/sf_carn.htm and at http://www.sfcatcarnaval.com/

Washington, DC: The National Memorial Day Parade has quickly become a tradition in the nation’s capital since this was made an annual event in 2005. Hundreds of thousand of people show up to watch this parade. The monuments, cemeteries, and memorials of Washington, DC are always worth a visit, but Memorial Day’s especially suited for them. You can look forward to special ceremonies and events like the National Memorial Day Parade, Arlington National Cemetery wreath-laying, and National Memorial Day Concert.  http://www.nationalmemorialdayparade.com/

Atlanta, GA:  Music lovers, the Atlanta Jazz festival (the country’s largest free jazz fest) is celebrating the greats as well as up and coming musicians redefining the genre. http://atlantafestivals.com/

Chicago, IL:  The Windy City boasts the largest and the most historic Memorial Day Parade http://www.explorechicago.org/city/en/things_see_do/event_landing/events/mose
/memorial day_parade.html
This annual tribute to veterans has been taking place since 1871, drawing more than 10,000 participants who travel down State Street
from Lake to Van Buren. The festivities take place on Saturday and
start at 11am. While you’re there, check out the “Bike the Drive” http://www.explorechicago.org/city/en/supporting_narrative/events___
. One of America’s biggest bike rides gives riders a car-free view of the skyline along Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive.

Westmont, IL:  Red, White and BBQ Festival http://westmontbbq.com/
If you're looking to visit the Midwest, check out the Red, White and BBQ Festival
in Westmont, Illinois. While this one isn't in a huge city, it's still an interesting weekend-long festival with more than just barbecue to look forward to. Visit the carnival with the kids, watch a 3-on-3 soccer tournament or stroll through a dizzying array of food vendors each more delicious than the last. Live music keeps the festival moving, while themed cooking demonstrations teach you everything you need to become a brilliant backyard barbecuer. You can even participate in judging the "People's Choice" contest – and this year's theme is chili.

New Orleans, LA:  If you’re a wine and food lover, New Orleans is just the place for your Memorial Day weekend. The annual New Orleans Wine and Food Experience is featuring 100 of the city’s finest restaurants. The event spotlights the city’s legendary restaurants, local chefs and features delicious local foods http://www.nowfe.com/

Kansas City, MO:  Great American Barbecue Festival (Happening May 20 & 21)
http://www.thinkbbq.com/  Kansas City is home to the Kansas City Barbeque Society, the world's largest organization of its kind, so it's only natural that the area around Kansas City hosts the Great American Barbecue Festival. This year it'll be in Bonner Springs. Kansas City barbecue traditionally includes a wide range of meats, and the contest covers four of them – you'll have your fill of brisket, pork shoulder and more here, served up with a sweet sauce and sides. In addition to the barbecue centerpiece, this festival radiates fun, from live music to carnivals to hot air balloon rides! You can even catch culinary demonstrations if you'd like to master the art of the barbecue yourself.

St. Louis, MO:  Rib America Festival
In the heart of downtown St. Louis, Missouri, the Rib America Festival celebrates the self-professed "World's Best Ribs". With free early bird admission from Friday through Monday, this is a budget-friendly choice, too, though you'll want to set aside some money for food, drink and festival games! In addition to the barbecue goods you'd expect, you can enjoy fair-style food and games. Live music will be ongoing on stage every day, with both local favorites and some nationally-famous acts. St. Louis barbecue tends to be pork served with a tangy sauce, a Missouri variation all its own from the better-known Kansas City variety

Boulder City, NV:  Best Dam Barbecue Challenge http://www.bestdambarbecue.com/   The Best Dam Barbecue Challenge in Boulder City, Nevada, is so named because Boulder City is where you'll find the Hoover Dam. This challenge pits BBQ enthusiasts from around the country. It's smaller than some festivals, but the barbecue will be just as good – and that means you might actually get the chance to go around and try samples from everyone

Las Vegas, NV:  Looking to let loose? Time to party Las Vegas style at the ‘Love Festival’ at the Palms casino. This three day music event over Memorial Weekend features the best in international DJs. www.thelovefestival.com and more information at http://www.facebook.com/TheLoveFestival?sk=wall

New York, NY:  Manhattan during Memorial Day. The streets are packed for Fleet Week (May 25 to June 2 in 2011), an annual event that brings hundreds of sailors and marines to the city to participate in parades. There are all kinds of activities, from Broadway performances to the famous military Tug of War. For the art lovers, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is open on Memorial Day as part of the special Met Holiday Mondays. http://www.newyorkled.com/nyc_events_Fleet_Week.htm

Austin, TX:  How could you not enjoy a festival of wine and music? The Wine and Music Festival mixes 100% local brew with Texan rock bands. http://www.austinwineandmusicfestival.com/index.html

Bandera, TX:  Memorial Weekend Rodeo and Cook-Off http://www.banderarodeo.com Bandera, also known as the "Cowboy Capital of the World," features a barbecue cook-off as part of its Memorial Weekend Rodeo. If you've never been to a rodeo before, this is a great excuse to start. Have a little cowboy fun watching the bravest of the brave ride bulls, wrestle cattle and more, then stop by the barbecue cook-off where enthusiasts battle to determine the region's best barbecue.

Home Sweet Home
If you’re not traveling, be sure to check out your towns festivities, and stay close to home celebrating with family and friends. Memorial weekend is the second most popular barbecuing holiday after the 4th of July, what would it be without great food? Memorial Day represents the traditional start of the outdoor cooking season. This is the time of year that people are getting their charcoal, filling propane tanks and making plans for cookout season. Whether you will be grilling hamburgers, hotdogs, steaks, chicken, fish, ribs or your favorite recipe, plan ahead so you’re sure to enjoy this wonderful weekend.

Kebabs are a great main dish because you’re basically cooking your main meal all at once. Start off with some appetizers and finger foods while grilling. Pre-make some of your sides the day before such as the traditional potato salad, cole slaw and sliced watermelon. Enjoy desserts of ice-cream, pies, or just about any summertime dessert. While relaxing with family and friends, don’t forget the refreshments. Margaritas, iced tea, sangria, lemonade, or the stand-by beer, will complete your cookout and aide you in a great start to the Summer season. Have a wonderful and safe holiday!