Memorial Day, typically the start of the summer season of barbecues and tanning dangerously, gets more attention up North where they are still shaking off the chill. Since we grill year-round here it's less of an event, but there's still all-American activities this weekend from patriotic ceremonies to go-go dancers by the pool at the Indian casino. Is this a great country, or what? — Sharon Kennedy Wynne and B Buckberry Joyce
Shephard's Memorial Day Wave Party The biggest Memorial Day party on the beach is a four-day affair through Monday. Highlights include a concert Saturday night by the Gin Blossoms and DJ sets on Sunday by Playboy Playmate Colleen Shannon and DJs Sizzahands and Switch from Crooklyn Clan. Ticket prices vary; the Gin Blossoms show is $15, and a weekend pass is $40. Shephard's Beach Resort, 601-619 S Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater Beach. (727) 441-6875; shephards.com or myspace.com/waveparty.
97X Memorial Day Backyard BBQ This family event benefits the Ocean Conservancy with music by the Almost, Safety Suit, 10 Years, Spill Canvas and others. There will be air motocross demonstrations, volleyball tournaments, bocce ball, inflatable games, barbecue and beer garden from noon to 9 Saturday at Vinoy Park, 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. $10-$15. (727) 579-2026; 97xonline.com.
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino The Hard Rock's Memorial Day bash by the pool will have DJs, a swimsuit fashion show, go-go dancers — all the stuff that makes America great. It starts at noon and lasts until 11, then continuing from 11 to 6 a.m. at Floyd's Nightclub inside. It's $20 and beach attire is welcome at both events. rocktampa.com.
Memorial Sunday Salsa Block Party Latin bands, a painting exhibition, salsa classes, tropical drinks and a hair fashion show enliven this non-alcoholic family event near the MacDill Air Force Base, at Interbay and MacDill Boulevard. Admission is free on Sunday from noon to 9.
Sun, Sand and Swing Annual Memorial Day event with music by the Greg Billings Band, Tom Gribbin and the Saltwater Cowboys, the Mad Beach Band, Lounge Cats and the Suncoast Dixieland Jazz Band. There's also a magic show, inflatables and food and drink vendors. It runs from 2 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday at Treasure Island Beach at 104th Avenue, Treasure Island. Free. (727) 547-4575; ci.treasure-island.fl.us.
Free military admission It's free admission on Monday for active duty, activated, retired or drilling reservists, or National Guardsmen, plus one guest at the Florida Aquarium, and plus three dependents at the Lowry Park Zoo. The SS American Victory, the World War II-era cargo vessel in Tampa's Channelside district, offers military members free tour admission through Monday. It's open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Sundays noon to 4.
Bay Pines National Cemetery Rep. C.W. Bill Young will speak at the Memorial Day ceremony beginning at 10 a.m. Monday at the cemetery. Shuttle service will be provided from the Bay Pines VA Medical Center at 10000 Bay Pines Blvd. Free. (727) 398-9426; baypines.va.gov.
Largo Central Park The city park, 101 Central Park Drive, will feature a traditional sunset memorial service as well as a traveling reminder of the toll of war beginning at 7 p.m. at the Military Court of Honor. largo.com.
Art exhibit "Eyes Wide Open: An Exhibition on the Human Cost of the Iraq War" will feature 171 pairs of combat boots to represent the service members from Florida who have died in the war. The free exhibit, sponsored by a Quaker group called the American Friends Service Committee, will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Largo Central Park on Monday. 5yearsofwar.com.
Grand Central District St. Petersburg's Grand Central District and VFW Post 39 will honor veterans at 6 p.m. Friday, featuring the Army Reserve Medical Command color guard of Pinellas Park. From 5 to 8 p.m., St. Pete's Helping Our Troops will collect items to send to active duty troops, and the Classic Car Cruisers will exhibit vintage and street rod cars. Central Avenue at 25th Street N, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 328-7086; grandcentraldistrict.org.