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Memorial Day 2019: Weekend events in Phoenix and around Arizona

Arizona Republic logo Arizona Republic 5/17/2019 Weldon B. Johnson
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Summer doesn’t officially begin until June 21, but Memorial Day is the start of that season for many people.

While it has become a day for picnics, cookouts and thinking about summer vacations, the holiday has more somber roots.

Memorial Day was first held on May 30, 1868, to honor those lost during the Civil War.  After the United States' involvement in World War I, the holiday was expanded to commemorate those killed in any U.S. war.

In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved the observance of Memorial Day from May 30 to the last Monday in May. That law took effect in 1971.

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Here are some events and activities dedicated to the day and others that are fun ways to ease into summer in Phoenix and around Arizona.

Those who aren't able to attend a Memorial Day event can honor the lives lost in war by observing a moment of silence at 3 p.m. May 27.

Flags for Our Fallen

More than 200 bikers with 500 American flags will pay tribute to those who have served our country. Camping is available starting Friday, May 24. Riders arrive at 4 a.m. on Memorial Day; the ceremony will begin at 8 a.m. Registration and flag-sponsorship details are online.

Details: 5-9 a.m. Monday, May 27. 23029 N. Cave Creek Road, Phoenix. Free to participate; $10 each or three for $25 to sponsor flags. ridersusa.net.

Memorial Day with Pioneers' Cemetery Association

The Pioneers' Cemetery Association presents its annual Memorial Day observance with Marty Manning as master of ceremonies. Free public parking available at Wesley Bolin Plaza. After the ceremony, tour the cemeteries and visit the historic Smurthwaite House.

Details: 9 a.m. Monday, May 27. Pioneer and Military Memorial Park, 14th Avenue and Jefferson Street, Phoenix. Free. 602-534-1262, azhistcemeteries.org.

Day of Remembrance in Anthem

The Daisy Mountain Veterans and Anthem Community Council host this ceremony at the Anthem Veterans Memorial. Ceremony includes speakers, music and a POW/MIA ceremony. Roses will be placed on the pavers of those who were killed in action. Ceremony concludes with playing of "Taps."

Details: 9 a.m. Monday, May 27. Anthem Community Park, 41703 N. Gavilan Peak Parkway. Free. 623-742-6050, onlineatanthem.com.

Gilbert Historical Museum Memorial Day event

American Legion Post 39 hosts this morning of celebration and remembrance. The event will include a flag and wreath ceremony, music from the Ahwatukee Foothills concert band and remarks by USAF retired Col. Cliff B. Stansell.

Details: 9-10 a.m. Monday, May 27. Gilbert Historical Museum, 10 S. Gilbert Road. Free. 480-926-1577, gilbertmuseum.org.

Blue Star Museums Initiative

The Heard Museum is part of this program which offers free admission for active-duty military personnel and their families from May 27 through Labor Day, Sept. 2. That includes active-duty Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard and Reserve members and up to five immediate family members.

Details: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays. 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. Free to those eligible members; $7.50-$18 for others. 602-252-8848, heard.org.

Memorial Day Picnic and season preview

Parents, alumni, volunteers, friends and fans of the Arizona Academy of the Performing Arts can enjoy a picnic lunch featuring hot dogs, beans, salad and dessert. The Academy Youth Guard, Phenom SoundSport and each section of the Academy Drum and Bugle Corps will perform. Purchase tickets online in advance. Lunch available from noon-2 p.m.

Details: Performances at 1 and 2:30 p.m. Monday, May 27. Apache Junction High School, 2525 Ironwood Drive, Apache Junction. $8-$12. 480-838-4203, arizonaacademy.org.

Summer Kick-Off Party at Lustre Rooftop Bar

Spend Saturday afternoon enjoying live music, cocktails, snacks and barbecue. To book a cabana, call 602-258-0231 or email info@lustrerooftopbar.com. If you want to stay longer, Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix has a Fast Forward to Summer package offering 20% off room rates and 20% off food and beverages. 

Details: 1-5 p.m. Saturday, May 25. 2 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix. No cover charge. 877-488-1908, www.hotelpalomar-phoenix.com.

AROUND ARIZONA

Sky Islands Summit Challenge

Take the Sky Islands Summit Challenge and climb one, two or three peaks in the Huachuca Mountains. Participants get a swag bag, bragging rights and amazing views. Transportation from the Sierra Vista City Complex to the trailheads is provided.

Details: 5 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, May 25. Sierra Vista City Complex, E. Tacoma St. $50-$100. 800-288-3861, visit.sierravistaaz.gov/events/sierra-vista-sips-skies-home.

Sips & Skies

Sample Arizona's best vintages, craft brews and spirits while listening to live music. Food and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase.

Details: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, May 25. Veterans Memorial Park, 3105 E. Fry Blvd., Sierra Vista. $20 in advance, $25 at the gate. 800-288-3861, visit.sierravistaaz.gov/events/sierra-vista-sips-skies-home.

Zuni Festival of Arts and Culture

Zuni artisans from throughout the Southwest will share expertise in carving, weaving, painting and more. Enjoy traditional dances while learning about Zuni life and culture.

Details: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, May 25-26. Museum of Northern Arizona, 3101 N. Fort Valley Road, Flagstaff. $12, $8 for ages 10-17, free for age 9 and younger. 928-774-5213, musnaz.org.

Phippen Museum Western Art Show & Sale

Arizona's premier outdoor Western art show and sale is held on the grounds of the historic courthouse in downtown Prescott. Attractions include Western artists from across the nation, two Quick Draw challenges, the museum's Denim to Diamonds Gala and a public art awards ceremony.

Details: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. May 25-26, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., May 27. Courthouse Plaza, 120 S. Cortez St., Prescott. Free. 928-778-1385, phippenartmuseum.org.

Prescott Off-Street Festival

This festival includes more than 100 vendors showing and selling their arts and crafts. Motorists might appreciate the fact it’s set up on a lot behind the Chamber of Commerce, thus not impeding traffic around Courthouse Square.

Details: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday, May 25-27. 117 W. Goodwin St., Prescott. Free. 928-445-2000, prescott.org.

Prescott Memorial Day observance

Join U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar, Prescott Mayor Greg Mengarelli and others at the annual Memorial Day Observance at the Historic Citizens Cemetery.

Details: 9-10 a.m. Monday, May 27. Citizens Cemetery, 815 Sheldon St., Prescott. Free. 928-445-200, prescott.org.

World’s Shortest Memorial Day Parade

This annual event in Crown King honors military veterans but all are invited to join. From Phoenix, take Interstate 17 north to Bloody Basin Road (Exit 259). Follow Forest Road 259 (Crown King Road) for 24 miles to Crown King. It’s a rough, narrow unpaved road with sharp switchbacks. A high-clearance vehicle is recommended.

Details: Noon Sunday, May 26. Followed at 12:10 p.m. or so by a family carnival at the Fire Department. Free. 928-632-7911, CrownKingAz.com.

Reach the reporter at weldon.johnson@arizonarepublic.com or 602-444-8817. Or follow him on Twitter at @weldonjohnson. Support local journalism. Subscribe to azcentral.com today.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Memorial Day 2019: Weekend events in Phoenix and around Arizona

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