Disclaimer: Due to COVID-19 concerns, many events might be canceled, postponed, or changed into limited versions, sometimes at very short notice. Please check with event organizers directly for the latest updates.
Virginia attracts a lot of visitors during Memorial Day Weekend. They come to honor servicemen and women who gave up their life for America. Major events take place at the Arlington National Cemetery with the participation of U.S. top officials.
Flags In at Arlington National Cemetery (late May 2021)
Every year, over 200,000 flags are placed at the Arlington National Cemetery and Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery on Memorial Day. This tradition, known as "Flags In," has been underway since 1948 when the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment honored America's fallen heroes by putting flags at gravesites in Arlington for the first time. Every available soldier in the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment takes part in this ceremony. There is also a Wreath Laying Ceremony and Memorial service at the National Cemetery on this day.
Portsmouth Memorial Day Parade (late May 2021)
Since 1884, the Portsmouth Annual Memorial Day Parade has been held in Portsmouth, VA to honor sacrifices of the United States Armed Forces men and women and the town's military history. The parade features floats, marching bands, and lots of entertainment. The procession starts from High Street and Peninsula Avenue at 10 am and proceeds to Crawford Street.
Memorial Day Parade and Festival in Falls Church (May 31, 2021, canceled)
Falls Church in Virginia hosts Memorial Day Parade and Festival, one of the most massive in the state. Over 10,000 attendees line the streets to see the largest festival of the year. The parade with bands, civic and military groups, antique vehicles, and floats starts at 2 pm. After a solemn procession on Monday, crowds indulge in music, food, and shopping. Convertible Jerk Band and the City of Falls Church Concert Band perform in the afternoon in downtown Falls Church.
Rolling to Remember replaced Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally (May 30, 2021)
The annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally from Arlington to Washington, DC, used to be one of the most spectacular events of the Memorial Day Weekend in the United States. The final ride was in 2019. AMVETS decided to continue the tradition with a new similar event called Rolling to Remember.
ValleyFest Beer & Wine Festival at Massanutten Resort, McGaheysville (postponed from May to September 18, 2021)
Those who prefer to party with a glass of beer, head to the ValleyFest Beer & Wine Festival on the slopes of Massanutten Resort in McGaheysville. Over 4,000 people gather here at the festival to celebrate with live music, food, and unique handicrafts while sipping quality wines, microbrews, and ciders of the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, and other areas.
Memorial Day Weekend celebrations in Richmond
There are also lots of events and activities over the Memorial Day Weekend in Richmond. Hundreds of flags are placed on the graves of the veterans across the Shockoe Hill Cemetery during the weeks leading to Memorial Day. Richmond National Cemetery holds Memorial Day cemetery walks where you can learn the stories of the soldiers buried here. If you are not sure what cemetery to head to, join Richmond’s historic cemeteries bus tour. For the fireworks, go to Rocketts Landing, where you'll also enjoy music and food.
Memorial Weekend Salute at Kings Dominion, Doswell (May 29–31, 2021, unconfirmed)
Another great spot for fireworks is Kings Dominion Theme Park. Every night from Friday to Monday, the park honors all who serve with pyrotechnic displays, live entertainment, and concerts by local military bands. What a nice kick-off to the summer season!