Where better to honor the courageous military men and women who died in service of our country than in the city where our nation was born – Philadelphia. The City of Brotherly Love knows how to celebrate Memorial Day weekend right. In past years, the Philly area has shown its spirit by casting Old Glory’s patriotic colors on historic buildings throughout town, with twinkling stars and stripes in the waters below the Ben Franklin Bridge and with scores of parades and memorial services. This year’s Memorial Day weekend is shaping up to be equally fabulous. Here’s our top picks on how to celebrate Memorial Day and the start of summer in and around Philadelphia.
2014 Bridesburg Memorial Day Parade
2843 Orthodox St.
Philadelphia, PA 19137
Date: May 26, 2014
If you love parades, then grab a lawn chair and get ready for the mother of all Memorial Day parades. The two-hour-long march takes place in the Bridesburg section of Philadelphia and has been the staple of local Memorial Day celebrations since 1946. In fact, it ranks as the largest such event in the tri-state area. The parade covers an almost two-mile route and features more than a dozen American Legion units, military units and marching bands.
City of Cape May Memorial Day Events
Cape May, NJ 08204
Date: May 23–26, 2014
The historic City of Cape May has its own full schedule of events. Willow Creek Winery will present Fire Pit Friday on May 23rd from 5:30 to 8 p.m., where guests can enjoy music and wine around a crackling bonfire. The Cape May Convention Hall will host a Crafts and Antiques for Memorial Day show on May 25th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Expect a huge selection of folk art, hand-made jewelry and Victorian treasures. The popular 25th Annual Cape May Music Festival begins its three-week series of orchestral and chamber music on May 25th, and weekend festivities end with the City of Cape May Memorial Day Ceremony, set for May 26th at 11 a.m.
Jam On The River
River Stage at Penn’s Landing
101 Columbus Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Date: May 25, 2014
To kick off the summer in style, you don’t want to miss Jam on the River at Penn’s Landing. The popular annual music fest took a hiatus six years ago, but it’s back for 2014 with a new vibe. Originally a New Orleans-themed event, Jam on the River is now a diversified and super-sized, one-day extravaganza jam packed with all genres of great music and food. This year, the festival will predominantly feature electronic bands. Lotus, Zoogma, GRiZ, Grimace Federation, Papadosio and Conspirator head the lineup. A crowd of about 5,000 is expected for this much-anticipated event, so purchase your tickets early.
Memorial Day Parade, Service and Reception at Laurel Hill Cemetery
3822 Ridge Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19132
Date: May 25, 2014
Laurel Hill Cemetery, home to the gravesite of General George Gordon Meade, a Battle of Gettysburg war hero, will offer a memorial service and parade on May 25th at noon. The seated ceremony will unveil and rededicate the Silent Sentry, a bronze statue of a soldier that guards the resting places of Civil War veterans. Brigadier General Wilbur E. Wolf III, Richard Wood Snowden and Waldron Kintzing Post II are scheduled as keynote speakers. A reception will follow with beer and light lunch refreshments.
Memorial Day Weekend
National Constitution Center
525 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Date: May 24–26, 2014
It only seems fitting to begin our top picks with a visit to the Constitution Center at Independence Hall. Special daily programs to honor those who fought for our nation’s Constitution include “How a Nation Remembers,” a show examining U.S. memorial landmarks, and the “Liberty Tree Show,” a history of the Liberty Tree in our country. Additional activities, such as morning and evening flag ceremonies, flag etiquette workshops and arts and crafts, round out the events. Visitors will even get a chance to belt out their favorite patriotic tunes at a karaoke station in the Grand Hall Lobby.
Stone Harbor Memorial Day Activities
Stone Harbor Chamber of Commerce
212 96th St.
Stone Harbor, NJ 08247
Date: May 22–26, 2014
Memorial Day ushers in the summer, and there’s no better place to celebrate the sunny season than with a weekend at the Jersey Shore. Shoot down Route 55 to Stone Harbor for a weekend awash with events. Activities will kick off at 4 p.m. on May 22nd with an hour-long Beach Opening Celebration at 96th Street. Catch some rays and splash in the surf until the starting pistol fires at 8 a.m. on May 25th for the 15th Annual Turtle Trot 5K Run and 2-Mile Fun Walk. The traditional Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony will honor our fallen military service men and women with firetrucks, floats and marching bands on May 26th at noon, and, of course, 96th Street shops will be ready with sales and free samples of fudge.
Susan DeFeo has been a professional writer since 1997. She served as a community events columnist for New Jersey’s “Cape May County Herald” for more than a decade. A writer for numerous online publications, Susan has covered health, fitness, beauty and travel, all subjects that are near and dear to her as a married mother of seven children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.