Memorial Day parties tend to be a bigger deal up North, where warm weather and grilling season aren't year-round activities as they are here. But still, it's a long weekend and that's reason enough to crank up the grill. If you decide to venture out, you can salute your country and entertain your loved ones at these events and parties:
A Memorial Day festival with two stages of live music by bay area bands, kids' carnival, bike and car shows, a Memorial Day ceremony at Veteran's Park, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. today. Downtown Oldsmar, 100 State St. W, next to City Hall, Oldsmar. Free; fee for kids' carnival. (813) 855-4233.
Memorial Day Party
The Hip Hop Soda Shop in Tampa will have appearances by reggaeton rapper Voltio and Latin hip-hop artist Cuban Link, among others, for its Memorial Day bash tonight at the club at 1241 E Fowler Ave. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, and the first 25 women in bikinis get in free and can enter the night's bikini contest. The parking lot opens at 7 p.m. and bikers are invited to line up; the club opens 9 p.m. For tickets, call (813) 309-9991 The Hip Hop Soda Shop.
Memorial Day Weekend Skate
School's out Monday, so here's an all-night skate with milk and doughnuts. All types of skates welcome and available for rent. Starts at 7 p.m. today. Skateland of Brandon, 750 W Robertson St., Brandon. $15 (food, drink, skate rental extra). (813) 681-3635; Skateland of Brandon.
Memorial Day at the Zoo
Free admission for active-duty, activated, retired or drilling reservists or National Guardsmen with Department of Defense photo ID. Also good for free admission for up to three direct dependents. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon. Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa. Free. (813) 935-8552; Lowry Park Zoo.
Bay Pines Memorial Day Ceremony
With featured speakers Congressman C. W. Bill Young and Sgt. Russell Pieper, an Army Wounded Warrior who served four tours in Afghanistan. Also, performance by the Clearwater High School Marine Corps JROTC Silent Drill Team, musical performances, firing salute and taps performance. Shuttle service provided from parking lot to cemetery. Sign-language interpreter for hearing-impaired. 10 a.m. Mon. Bay Pines National Cemetery at Bay Pines VA Medical Center, 10000 Bay Pines Blvd., Bay Pines. Free. (727) 398-9426; Bay Pines National Cemetery.
Military Families Day
All those who have served our country and their family members get free admission. Includes the Upstairs/Downstairs performance featuring a re-enactment of Henry Dobson, a soldier who traveled through Tampa during in the Spanish-American War. Noon-4 p.m. Mon. Henry B. Plant Museum, 401 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. Free. (813) 254-1891; Henry B. Plant Museum.
Memorial Day celebration with barbecue dinner and bluegrass music by the Bluegrass Parlor Band, Gypsy Wind, Mountain Memories and Liz Hollister. Benefits the St. Petersburg Lions Foundation. Noon-6 p.m. Mon. St. Petersburg Lions Club Beach House, 9300 W Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island. $15. (727) 647-2663 St. Petersburg Lions Club.
Memorial Day Carillon Concert
Patriotic favorites honoring those who have served our country. Free admission to active, retired and disabled military. Up to three guests get 50 percent off regular admission. 1 and 3 p.m. Mon. Bok Tower Gardens, 1151 Tower Blvd., Lake Wales. $10, $3 ages 5-12; members and younger than 5 free. (863) 676-1408; Bok Tower Gardens.
Memorial Day Skateboard Camp
A skateboard camp with clinics, tips and lessons on cool skateboard moves for all experience levels. All areas of the skate park will be closed to non-camp participants. 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Mon. Skate Park at Fossil Park Recreation Center, 6635 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N, St. Petersburg. $25. (727) 443-0209; Fossil Skate Park.
Memorial Weekend Luxury Boat Ride
The Pi Iota Education Foundation benefit features dinner, cash bar and DJ dancing to R&B, hip-hop and old school music. 6:15-11 p.m. today. Clearwater Beach Marina at StarLite Majesty Dining Yacht, 25 Causeway Blvd., Clearwater Beach. $40. (813) 503-6862; www.piiota.org.
Memorial Day Sunset Ceremony
Join representatives from bay area veterans organizations as they post the colors and lead the parade of colors. Also, place a flag in the memorial wreath to pay tribute to your loved ones. A special tribute to POWs and MIAs with bagpipers and a sing-along. Largo Teen Idol Amanda Puyot sings the national anthem. 7 p.m. Mon. Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive, Largo. Free. (727) 587-6740, ext. 5014 Largo Central Park.