Memorial Day
Copyright: kentoh / 123RF Stock Photo

Ah, Memorial Day weekend. A chance to hit the pool, fire up the outdoor grill, drink some beer, spend money at some of the many Memorial Day sales … or all of the above.

In the midst of the summer kick-off revelry, however, we should never forget the men and women who have fought and died for our freedom (in other words the “memorial” part of Memorial Day). With that in mind, here are some events happening around Phoenix on Memorial Day weekend – both serious and fun – you should check out.

1. 2017 Star Spangled Celebration

The City of Phoenix gets an early start on Memorial Day weekend with the 4th Annual “Star Spangled Celebration.” The event honors fallen police officers, firefighters and military veterans.

You can enjoy a water play area, bounce houses, police and firefighter demonstrations, live music and a fireworks show to cap off the evening. Food and refreshments are available for sale; otherwise admission is free. The proceeds go to various charities and Laveen sports clubs.

When: Friday, May 26 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: Cesar Chavez Park (East Side), 7858 S. 35th Ave., Laveen, AZ
More info: www.phoenixheroes.org

2. PCA’s 34th Annual Memorial Day Observance

Join the Pioneers’ Cemetery Association at the Pioneer & Military Memorial Park for its 34th Memorial Day observance. Local historian Len Marcisz is speaking, and several reenactment groups will be present. You can also take tours of the 1897 Smurthwaite House and the cemeteries, and enjoy light refreshments.

When: Monday, May 29 at 9 a.m.
Where: Pioneer & Military Memorial Park, 14th Ave. and Jefferson Ave. in Downtown Phoenix
More info: www.azhistcemeteries.org

3. 2017 Memorial Day Ceremony

The National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona hosts an annual Memorial Day Ceremony at 8 a.m. You’ll also see the Annual Memorial Day Rally as bikers from around the state line Cave Creek Road with American flags and motorcycles to salute the military families.

When: Monday, May 29 at 8 a.m.
Where: National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, 23029 North Cave Creek Road, Phoenix, AZ
More info: www.cem.va.gov

4. National Moment of Remembrance

Even if you don’t attend a Memorial Day ceremony, set an alarm for 3 p.m. (local time). That’s when everyone is asked to hold one minute of silence in remembrance of those who gave their lives for our country.

When: Monday, May 29 from 3:00 p.m. to 3:01 p.m. (local time)
Where: Wherever you are
More info: Memorial Day History

As good as it is to honor the memory of the fallen, Memorial Day weekend is also about having some fun. Here are a few fun events happening around the Valley you’ll want to attend. Also, keep an eye on the Phoenix.org Events page for more things to do on Memorial Day or any other day of the year.

5. 8th Annual Cave Creek Balloon Festival

Hot air balloons are a majestic sight, especially glowing at night. You can enjoy that sight at the annual Cave Creek Balloon Festival. Along with the balloons, enjoy live music from Arizona country artist Harry Luge, along with up-and-coming musicians.

You’ll also find activities for kids, like face painting; food and dessert from a variety of food trucks; beer, cocktails and wine; a flyover from Deer Valley Squadron 302; and fireworks to cap off the evening.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for kids 12 and under, and children under two are free. Veterans and military members get tickets at half price with a military ID. You can also save if you pre-order online.

When: Saturday, May 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: 5734 East Rancho Manana Boulevard, Cave Creek, AZ
More info and online ticket purchase: cavecreekfestivals.com

6. Phoenix Comicon

One of the biggest events of the year, Phoenix Comicon sees a host of celebrities and fans come together. See stars from your favorite geeky films and TV shows. Meet your favorite authors and comic book artists.

Attend panels and seminars or a range of topics. Cosplay (dress up like your favorite characters) and participate in contests or just for fun. Plus, attend parties and browse more than 700 vendors for must-have memorabilia and collectibles.

Just a few of the dozens of stars visiting this year are Jenna Coleman (“Doctor Who,” “Victoria”), Karen Gillian (“Doctor Who,” “Guardians of the Galaxy”), Robert Duncan McNeill (“Star Trek: Voyager”), Alan Tudyk (“Firefly,” “Rogue One”) and, oddly enough, Dick Van Dyke (too much to mention). See the full list here.

Comicon runs from Thursday-Sunday, May 25-28 at the Phoenix Convention Center. Tickets start at $20 and go up to $300 for entry, plus extra for autographs and photo ops. You can purchase them through Phoenix Comicon.

When: Thursday to Sunday, May 25-28
Where: Phoenix Convention Center, 100 N. 3rd St., Phoenix
More info: phoenixcomicon.com

Want even more great events to attend on Memorial Day weekend, or any other time? Go to the Phoenix.org Events page for the latest events you need to know.

– Justin Ferris, Phoenix.org