Ways to Celebrate Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day is just around the corner, and that means the season of outdoor barbecues, endless pool days, and unforgettable memories with family and friends are just around the corner. Kick off summer right with these fun ways to celebrate Memorial Day weekend.

This year’s Memorial Day Ceremony at Iowa Veterans Cemetery will be hosted as an online event on Monday, May 31, at 8 a.m. The Iowa Veterans Cemetery annual program at the Fallen Heroes Monument aims to honor and remember the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces. 

The State Capitol will also be hosting a Memorial Day Ceremony at the State Capitol on May 31, at 10 a.m. The public is invited to honor all military personnel at the 2021 Memorial Day service on the south lawn of the Iowa State Capitol grounds. Masks and social distancing guidelines are still recommended and in full-effect.

For a more casual vibe, locals should visit the music-centric event, Memorial Day Tunes, a free celebration which will be hosted on Sunday, May 30, at 2 pm. Visitors can enjoy some wine and the music of The Sons of Gladys Kravitz Band on Summerset’s lawn during their Memorial Day celebration. The kiddos are also welcome and their attendance is encouraged.

Not all Memorial Day weekend activities are related to Memorial Day itself, as represented by the Boone River Valley Festival. Located in Boone and slated to take place on Friday, May 28, through Sunday, May 30, the free Boone River Valley Festival is a multi-day county-wide celebration of Boone’s unique natural landscape. Visitors can fish, eat, celebrate, rock and discover the eccentric charisma of Boone!

From Friday, May 28 through Saturday, May 29, Living History Farms will be open during their normal hours over Memorial Day Weekend, and visitors can take part in their traditional Decoration Day events and then watch the Walnut Hill Bluestockings compete in a 1870s-rules baseball game on Saturday.

Adventureland & Adventure Bay will be open all throughout the Memorial Day weekend, and will offer special deals in honor of the weekend—with current members of all military branches including the National Guard/Reserve receiving free admission to Adventureland Park/Adventure Bay with their military photo ID. 

The Des Moines Downtown Farmers’ Market is ready to scale up, and this year, market attendees will be able to enjoy the prepared food offerings in dining areas at the 100 Court Avenue courtyard and on Court Avenue near Fifth Street. Also, three to four live entertainment groups will be permitted in open areas. Limited family and children’s activities will be phased in after May 29.

Locals can also get their splash on at Iowa’s plethora of aquatic centers, pools and public splash pools. Several outdoor pools and aquatic centers open for the season over the Memorial Day holiday weekend including: Cascade Falls Aquatic Center and Prairie Ridge Aquatic Center in Ankeny; Clive Aquatic Center in Clive; Teachout Aquatic Center in Des Moines; Veteran’s Memorial Aquatic Center in Indianola and Holiday Park Aquatic Center and Valley View Aquatic Center in West Des Moines. Splash Pools at several Des Moines area parks also open on Memorial Day.

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