Memorial Day is a national holiday to honor those who have died in American wars. It was originally called Decoration Day and began during the Civil War on May 30, 1868. Citizens placed flowers on the graves of deceased soldiers. Today, we celebrate in many ways. Here are a few Memorial Day commemorations we found in the Tampa Bay area, along with some other festivities.
Ceremonies, free admission and deals
Memorial Day BBQ and VA Assistance: Veterans can get information on qualifying for the VA Aid and Attendance Benefit at this early Memorial Day barbecue. Free (RSVP required). 4 p.m. Thursday. The Estate at Hyde Park, 2301 W Palm Drive, Tampa. (813) 251-6333.
Memorial Day at the Gardens: Veterans and active duty of all military branches get free admission to Bok Tower Gardens. Free, regular admission for all others. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday. Bok Tower Gardens, 1151 Tower Blvd., Lake Wales. 863-676-1408.
Memorial Day Ceremony: City of Largo Police Officer Robert Farias serves as keynote speaker for the ceremony with live music and a colors presentation by the City of Largo Fire and Police Department Honor Guard. Free. 9 a.m. Monday. Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive. 727-587-6740, ext. 5014.
Memorial Day Service: Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Jerry Custin serves as master of ceremonies for this service with the presentation of the colors, the national anthem sung by retired U.S. Air Force technical sergeant Sonya Bryson-Kirksey, who has routinely sung the national anthem at Tampa Bay Lightning games, and music by Palm Harbor United Methodist Church choir. Free. 9:30 a.m. Monday. Curlew Hills Memory Gardens, 1750 Curlew Road, Palm Harbor. 727-789-2000.
Memorial Day Program: Flags are placed on hundreds of graves honoring Black men and women who died in military service. Refreshments and a formal military program follow. Free. 10-11:30 a.m. Monday. Rest Haven Memorial Park, 4615 E Hanna Ave., Tampa. 813-626-2332.
Memorial Day at the James Museum: The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art honors those who serve our country with free admission for veterans, active military, Gold Star and Blue Star families. Free, regular admission for all others. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday. James Museum, 150 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. 727-892-4200.
Memorial Day Ceremony: Meet at the Golden Star Families Memorial Monument off the Riverwalk to remember those who have given their lives in service to our country. Free. 11-11:30 a.m. Monday. MacDill Park, 100 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. 813-221-8733.
Memorial Day Service: Bring a flag to wave and register your memorial wreath in advance for the 95th annual ceremony honoring the memory of service members. Includes speakers, a “vocal tribute” and flag raising. Free. 11 a.m. Monday. American Legion “U.S.S. Tampa” Post 5, 3810 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. 813-870-0505.
Memorial Day Ceremony and Dinner: A ceremony to remember and honor those who have died serving our country is followed by a pulled pork dinner with music by DJ Chris and Alice. Bring a dish to share. No cover. 2 p.m. Monday. VFW Post 2550, 360 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. 727-733-6107.
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Discounted Meal: Military service members and first responders get a 10 percent discount on their meals at all area Carrabba’s all day Monday. For a location near you, go to carrabbas.com.
Parties, movies, sporting and other events
WTR Pool and Cabanas’ Memorial Day Weekend Party: This 21-and-older-only party opens at noon and closes at sunset with performances by Fat Joe and NGHTMRE. Check the event website for more details. Noon-8 p.m. Friday-Monday. Godfrey Hotel and Cabanas, 7700 Courtney Campbell Parkway, Tampa. 813-281-8900.
Three Day Memorial Day Tribute: Caddy’s in Gulfport parties for three days with DJ dancing (noon Friday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m. Sunday), a beer pong tournament (noon Saturday), a corn hole tournament (3 p.m. Sunday) and music by Paul Anthony Band (6 p.m. Friday), Jahfari (6 p.m. Saturday) and the Foundation (3 p.m. Sunday). No cover (food/drink additional). Noon-6 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. Caddy’s, 3128 Beach Blvd. S, Gulfport. 727-592-2842.
Memorial Day Weekend at PCI: The soundtrack for the four-day party is provided by The Music Bureau featuring guitarist Stephano Aviles and DJs JT Radio, Lira, Matt Dodge and Skeelow. No cover (food/drink additional). 4-10 p.m. Friday, noon-10 p.m. Saturday, noon-8 p.m. Sunday, noon-9 p.m. Monday. Postcard Inn, 6300 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. 727-367-2711.
All White: Memorial Day Party: Dress in white and join LIC Promotions and Girls in the Sun for the fourth annual Memorial Day weekend party including outdoor and indoor DJs, an outside bar and drink specials. No cover (food/drink additional). 5-9 p.m. Saturday. City Side, 3703 Henderson Blvd., Tampa. 813-350-0600.
Memorial Motors and Music Festival: There will be three stages of music, with British Invasion, a Foreigner and Bad Company tribute band, Bearded Brothers Band and numerous local bands. Also, a car, truck and bike show, food trucks, arts and crafts vendors, eating contests and fireworks. $10-$15. 5-10 p.m. Saturday. Lead Foot City, 17109 Old Ayers Road, Brooksville. 844-532-3366.
Memorial Day Dance: Dress in red, white and blue and dance to live music by Alpine Doc Matthias. $10, $7 members. 6-11 p.m. Saturday. German American Society of Pinellas County, 8098 66th St. N, Pinellas Park. 727-541-6782.
Memorial Day Kickball Tournament: The first 20 men and 20 women are randomly placed on four teams. Each team plays two games. Players and spectators are encouraged to picnic and tailgate at the field. Proceeds will be donated to a local charity. $20 registration fee. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. Hoyt Field, 2306 56th St. S, Gulfport. 877-820-2582.
Memorial Day Sandbar Party: Boaters, set your guidance system to 27.786686 Latitude and -82.773264 Longitude and join the floating party on the sandbar. Free. Noon Sunday-Monday. John’s Pass Pavilion, 12801 Gulf Blvd., Madeira Beach.
Gays Just Wanna Have Fun: Memorial Day: LIC Promotions and Moochie Bird present this Memorial Day pool party with DJ dancing, food, drink, hookahs and bottle service. $15. 4-8:30 p.m. Sunday. Cuban Civic Club, 10905 Memorial Highway, Tampa. 813-855-5771.
Way 2 Lit: Memorial Sunday Party: Celebrate the holiday with cigars, martinis and dancing to music by DJ MT. Free (before 5 p.m.), $5-$10 after. 4-9 p.m. Sunday. Lit Cigar and Martini Lounge, 908 N Franklin St., Tampa. 941-773-3585.
Memorial Day: Remember and Honor: Remember and honor those who have served our country at this two-day party with live music by Logan Grant and the Show Ponies (4 p.m. Sunday), Stormbringer (8 p.m. Sunday), Damien Ward (1 p.m. Monday) and the Spazmatics (3 p.m. Monday). Also, face painting, balloon animals (5 p.m. Sunday and 1 p.m. Monday) and camo T-shirt sales throughout the event to benefit Honor Flight. No cover (food/drink additional). 4-8 p.m. Sunday, 1-3 p.m. Monday. Caddy’s on the Beach, 9000 W Gulf Blvd, Treasure Island. 727-360-4993.
Memorial Kickback: Join Suns Out Buns Out for an outdoor kickback party and market with vendors including Slangdatthang, Chef Roadrunna, SaucyyFangerz, AvariCupslic and Etc. $10-$20. 5-10 p.m. Sunday. Event Venue, 4203 W Waters Ave., Tampa.
Memorial Day Movie: Adults can watch a screening of “Hacksaw Ridge,” while children watch “Torchlighters” and do children’s activities. Includes snacks, pizza and refreshments. RSVP required. Free. 5 p.m. Sunday. Open Door Baptist Church, 7405 Harney Road, Tampa. 813-560-5991.
Memorial Day on the River: The restaurant on the river celebrates with an indoor-outdoor party with live country music by Crossfire Creek. No cover (food/drink additional). 7-11 p.m. Sunday. Whiskey River on the Water, 5245 Limestone Drive, Port Richey. 727-849-2180.
Reggaeton Memorial Day: DJs Speedy Jr. and Domi provide the music for this 18-and-older old-school reggaeton salute to Memorial Day. $10. 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Sunday. Room 1701 Restaurant and Lounge, 1701 W Waters Ave., Tampa. 813-466-5886.
Memorial Day Murph: Work out at CrossFit before moving to Bayboro Brewing Company for food and drinks. Includes two 1-mile runs, 100 pullups, 200 pushups and 300 air squats. Scaled versions are available for all ability levels. The event is held annually in honor of U.S. Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy, who was killed in action on June 28, 2005, and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. $20-$35. 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Monday. CrossFit St. Pete, 2727 Sixth Ave. S, St. Petersburg. 727-469-3240.
Memorial Day at Bayboro: The veteran-owned business celebrates with a workout at CrossFit 9 Gym, followed by food, drink and live music by Gypsy Wind at the brewery. There will be a “Veteran tab” open all day for anyone who served our country. No cover (food/drink additional). 9 a.m. Monday. Bayboro Brewing, 2390 Fifth Ave. S, St. Petersburg. 727-767-9666.
Memorial Day Picnic: Feast on barbecue items and stick around for a day of entertainment and family activities. Free. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday. New Life Tabernacle, 6912 Williams Road, Seffner. 813-740-1868.
Memorial Day Block Party: Enjoy barbecue specials at this neighborhood block party with drink specials and music by Shianne Marshall and Fred Chandler. Kids eat free with an adult food purchase. No cover (food/drink additional). 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday. Salty Shamrock, 6186 U.S. 41, Apollo Beach. 813-938-5282.
Memorial Day Skate: Dress in red, white and blue for open skating until 5 p.m. and free hotdogs from 1 to 2 p.m. $7 (skate rental additional). 1-5 p.m. Monday. Astro Skate Pinellas Park, 10001 66th St. N. 727-546-0018.
Memorial Day Block Party: A giant outdoor party with sun, fun, drinks, food and music by 22N. No cover (food/drink additional). 2 p.m. Monday. Toasted Monkey Beach Bar and Sports Grill, 6100 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. 727-360-5800.
Memorial Day Barbecue: Gather the family to salute our veterans at this day of swimming, dancing, hamburgers, hotdogs and sides. $10. 2 p.m. Monday. TAT Civic Association, 3210 Darlington Road, Holiday. 727-479-3785.
Memorial Day Roast: The Freakin’ Holligans provide live music for this Memorial Day pig roast with outdoor games. Food/drink additional. 4-8 p.m. Monday. The Talking Pint, 13418 Boyette Road, Riverview. 813-315-9889.
Memorial Day Beach Clean Up: Meet at the Treasure Island Chamber of Commerce kiosk in front of the laundry to collect your cleaning supplies, swag, parking pass and directions to the location to be cleaned. Once there, go to the Treasure Island Adopt a Beach Facebook page and post a selfie of yourself picking up trash. This event is being held in conjunction with Keep Pinellas Beautiful. Free. 6-8:30 p.m. Monday. Gulf Coast Laundry, 119 107th Ave., Treasure Island. 215-694-6692.
Art in the City: Memorial Day Screening: Watch a screening of the award-winning St. Petersburg-based film about a homeless war veteran who suffers from PTSD, his struggles, the people who help him along the way and how his love for art changed his life. Expect to see landmarks in the City of St. Petersburg, its landscape and one-of-a-kind murals. 6 p.m. Monday. The Factory, 2622 Fairfield Ave. S, St. Petersburg. 727-333-0225.