Memorial Day festivals are held around the country, and celebrating one of the most anticipated American holidays by attending one can be both fun and meaningful. On the more festive and celebratory side of the spectrum, there are 2016 Memorial Day Weekend events in many cities, such as Urban Beach Week in Miami, one of the biggest beach parties and music festivals in the country. Chicago also has several Memorial Day festivals, including a music festival, and you can't go wrong being in New York for Fleet Week on Memorial Day Weekend. For a more sober and meaningful approach to celebrating the holiday, some of the most well-known Memorial Day ceremonies are held in Washington DC, at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as in New York on the USS Intrepid.
Miami's Urban Beach Week is a wild party, focusing primarily on African-American culture and music, and is one of the most anticipated events on Memorial Day Weekend. The streets and beaches are crowded with partiers, while many venues host live music from popular musicians and DJs. Get tickets ahead of time for shows featuring P. Diddy, Chris Brown, and other popular entertainers. Party on a boat cruise, or dance the night away in one of Miami's hottest nightclubs. The Best of the Best Concert is one of the crowning Memorial Day Weekend 2016 events—this is an all-day music festival featuring reggae artists and Caribbean music.
Another one of the most popular Memorial Day festivals is Fleet Week in New York City. Don't miss this weeklong party as members of the US Armed Forces arrive on ships, parading down the Hudson River. Countless parties and events are held in the city during the week before Memorial Day, and having the soldiers in town for this patriotic holiday gives it a special poignancy. One of the most well known Memorial Day ceremonies is held on the USS Intrepid at Pier 86 on Memorial Day. The ceremony includes the unfurling of a 100-foot flag, a rifle salute, and a military fly-over.
Perhaps the best known of Memorial Day ceremonies is the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC. More than 330,000 men and women who served with the US Armed Forces are buried in the cemetery, and during the week before Memorial Day, various groups decorate each grave with an American flag. The service is held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and includes music, speeches, and a wreath-laying ceremony, and thousands of people attend each year, whether they have family members serving in the military or simply want to honor those killed in action.
One of the most meaningful Memorial Day Weekend events is the Lantern Floating Ceremony in Honolulu. Memorial Day is important in Hawaii, as thousands of soldiers who fell during the War in the Pacific are buried there, including many of the more than 2,400 people killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the Lantern Floating Ceremony is a beautiful way to remember them. Anyone can participate, and guests are given paper lanterns and a little boat to float the lit lanterns into the water from the beach. At sunset, thousands of these little lights are a reminder of the lives that were lost during past conflicts, an especially moving way to celebrate Memorial Day.