Memorial Day Weekend is upon us, a chance to first and foremost honor the members of the U.S. military who made the ultimate sacrifice. Secondarily, it's the unofficial kickoff to summer 2014.
The three-day respite from work (for most of us) provides ample opportunity to pause and remember our hometown heroes. Valley Forge National Historical Park, for example, has a full day of programming, an apt setting, considering the site's role in the formation of the U.S. Army. A number of other communities are holding patriotic tributes, so the chances to wave Old Glory will be plentiful.
On a less-solemn note, the weekend represents numerous opportunities to #MakeItMontco. As you are out and about in The Pursuit of a little R&R, snap a photo, tweet an update, post your selfies and use our hashtag. Let's show the region, the state and the rest of the country what Memorial Day weekend is all about.
The 39th Annual Conference of the International Trumpet Guild has blown into town at the Valley Forge Casino Resort. Although most of the sessions are devoted to industry-related topics and roundtable discussions, there are quite a few concert performances open to the public, and several of them are free. Get your brass over to the convention center and hear from the pros who aren't too shy to toot their own horn:
Friday, May 23:
- 7:30 p.m.: Memorial Day Weekend Tribute Concert at the Valley Forge Military Academy Chapel. Program features two-time American champion Atlantic Brass Band and artists from various military forces
- 9:30 p.m.: Evening Jazz Concert, Earl Phillips Big Band
Saturday, May 24:
- 7:30 p.m.: Closing Gala Concert. Philadelphia baroque orchestra Tempesta di Mare
- 9:30 p.m.: Pink Baby Monster, performance art ensemble
William Shakespeare had much to say about heroes and heroism, including this classic line from Julius Caesar: "A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once." Shakespeare takes center stage at the two-day Bard in the Borough presentation May 23-24. The Mitchell Performing Arts Center in Bryn Athyn, will be transformed into a playful arena where all things Shakespeare converge. Step into the lobby and travel back to the Renaissance with Shakespeare-inspired refreshments, minstrels, and artists ready to entertain you even before you enter the theatre. Then, on the main stage, enjoy a showcase of Shakespearean proportions: monologues, scenes, spoofs, skits, songs, and sonnets performed by community members of all ages.
A Memorial Day Observance is being hosted by the Historical Society of Montgomery County on May 24 at the historic Montgomery Cemetery. The event pays tribute to more than 400 veterans buried there, including five Civil War generals. They will be honored through wreath laying, speeches, military re-enactors and more. Visitors are invited to meet at the gatehouse, where a special exhibit will be displayed.
Not all the flags that will be fluttering in the breeze this weekend will be red, white and blue. The hole markers at Mermaid Lake Golf Club, for instance, will be beckoning duffers of all ages and skill levels to try nine holes of challenging play in an idyllic setting. The par-three course isn't as easy as it sounds, and it sure to sharpen the short-game of even the most seasoned golfer. If the rolling fairways and tucked holes prove a little too challenging, there's always the mini-golf nearby. Best of all, no tee times are needed; you can just grab your sticks and go.
On Monday, May 26, Valley Forge National Historical Park and its surroundings become the centerpiece for the area's commemoration of Memorial Day. The offerings include:
- A revamped cell phone tour, themed to concept of freedom and the sacrifices paid by those who protect it
- The Freedom Foundation's tour of the Medal of Honor Grove, a 52-acre woodland dedicated to honoring every Medal of Honor recipient
- A carillon concert at Washington Memorial Chapel, including a performance of "In Memoriam," a piece written in tribute the victims of 9/11
- Silent Sentinels Trolly Tour, a two-hour excursion led by an acclaimed military historian
The Collegeville Economic Development Corporation is providing a full day of honorifics and community pride on May 26. The morning steps off with a parade on Main Street in Trappe to Waterworks Park. Sixty groups will march, including representatives of the military, veterans, nonprofit groups, service clubs, boy- and girl-scouts, marching bands, floats, antique vehicles and horse-drawn carriages. The parade ends with a remembrance ceremony consisting of three buglers, a ceremonial flag raising, the Pledge of Allegiance and singing of "The Star Spangled Banner." When the civic exercise finishes, the park is turned over to the Collegeville's Community Day featuring great music, dance, food, tables manned by craft and local businesses, and kid-friendly activities.
With as jam-packed as the calendar is this weekend, the best way not to miss a single moment is to grab a hotel room and make a getaway out of it. Our website is chock full of suggestions on great places to stay. If you're going to slide into any of the Trumpet Guild concerts at the Valley Forge Casino Resort, stop by for a sumptuous meal at Pacific Prime first. The restaurant's skill with a skillet was just recognized with an Open Table Diners' Choice Award in the steak category.