15 Ways to Spend Memorial Day Weekend in Cincinnati

From barbecues to parades, Memorial Day weekend ushers in summer while remembering our community's military members who lost their lives while serving our country.

click to enlarge 15 Ways to Spend Memorial Day Weekend in Cincinnati
Photo by Andrew Pons on Unsplash

From barbecues to parades, Memorial Day weekend ushers in summer while remembering our community's military members who lost their lives while serving our country. We've compiled a list of events going on throughout the city to check out this holiday weekend. 

Kings Island — Kings Island is offering free admission to active military, retired military, National Guard and veterans with honorable or medical discharge and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps all weekend long. Qualifying military personnel can also purchase up to six discounted tickets into the park for family members — roller coasters require a buddy system, after all. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Monday. $35 for military family members. Kings Island, 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason, visitkingsisland.com.

Coney Island Opening Day — For many, Coney Island was a childhood staple. And come Saturday, it's officially open for the summer season. Feel the breeze run through your hair on one of their rides or cool down in the Sunlite Water Adventure park. Either way, get a dose of nostalgia. The event will also include a WWII-style Swing dance and USO show to honor veterans, featuring the Tom Daugherty Orchestra, which will recreate Glenn Miller’s Army Air Force Band. Held in Moonlight Pavilion (6-10 p.m.; $17-$20), the event will also include Cincinnati Lindy Society Swing dancers, prizes for period-authentic outfits and a cash bar. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday. General admission $13-$22. Coney Island, 6201 Kellogg Ave., California, coneyislandpark.com.

Taste of Cincinnati — In case you wanted that barbecue, the nation’s longest running culinary festival is right here in our own Queen City. Last year, the Taste of Cincinnati attracted 550,000 attendees, and with good reason. They've got the grub, you just need the stomach (you may want to skip breakfast for this one). 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 11 a.m.- 9 p.m. Monday. Free. Fifth Street between Main and Sentinel streets, Downtown, tasteofcincinnati.com.

Field of Memories: Remembering Our Fallen — This weekend-long event at Arlington Memorial Gardens will honor all who have served in the military. An installation of roughly 1,000 American flags will be displayed all weekend, but special events on Sunday include a lunch for veterans and the public, a flag-raising ceremony and a professional parachute performance by Team Fastrax. 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday-Monday. Free. Arlington Memorial Gardens, 2145 Compton Road, Springfield, amgardens.org.

Spring Grove Cemetery Tours — In addition to a Veterans Tribute showing at the Norman Chapel all weekend and ceremonies on Monday, Spring Grove Cemetery will offer two guided walking tours, beginning in the Civil War section. Learn about Cincinnati’s patriots and pioneers on Sunday and spruce up on your Civil War history at Spring Grove on Monday. 1 p.m. Sunday; 1:15 p.m. Monday. Free. Spring Grove Cemetery, 4521 Spring Grove Ave., Spring Grove Village, springgrove.org.

Park Hills Parade — Serving as Grand Marshal for the parade this year is Lt. Col. Amy McGrath-Henderson, who served in the Marine Corps for 20 years and became the first female Marine to fly an F-18 fighter aircraft in combat. A flag-raising ceremony will take place following the parade. 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Monday. Free. Notre Dame Academy, 1699 Hilton Drive, Park Hills, parkhillsky.net.

Clifton Memorial Day Parade — Bring your dogs to the Clifton Memorial Day Parade. The route meets at the corner of Middleton and McAlpin and goes to Mt. Storm Park for a cookout. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Free. Middleton and McAlpin, Clifton. More info here.

CFBA 2019 Memorial Day Murph — Crossfit Blue Ash is hosting this challenge to honor fallen soldier, Lt. Michael Murphy. You don't have to be a gym member or even do Crossfit to join. The challenge includes: 1 mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 air squats and an additional 1 mile run with an optional 20-pound weight vest. The option to partner in teams of two or three is available. All vets and active military are welcome. Participation is free but they will be collecting donations for the Wounded Warrior Project. 11 a.m. Free. Crossfit Blue Ash, 11308 Tamarco Drive, Blue Ash. More info here.

Anderson Township Bell Ringing Ceremony — Speaking at the Remembrance and Bell Ringing Ceremony this year is Col. Grant Jacoby, who received a Purple Heart for his service in Desert Storm. The ceremony will include a reading of names of deceased members of the armed forces and be completed with a three-volley rifle salute and a playing of “Taps.” 11:45 a.m. Monday. Free. Anderson Center, 7850 Five Mile Raod, Anderson Township, andersontownship.org.

67th Annual City of Blue Ash Parade and Ceremony/Memorial Day Concert — Stick around for the ceremony following the parade to hear from the keynote speaker, Col. Stephen Ackman, whose 27 years of service included command of the United States Army Garrisons at Fort Buchanon, Puerto Rico and Fort Hunter Liggett, California, as well as six years as a United States Army Reserve Ambassador for Ohio. Festivities continue on into the evening, with the Blue Ash/Montgomery Symphony Orchestra Memorial Day Concert starting at 7 p.m. at Towne Square. 10:15 a.m. parade; 11:15 a.m. ceremony, Monday. Free. Blue Ash Towne Square, Towne Square Ave., Blue Ash,blueashevents.com.

Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestras Concert — The Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra will perform their annual Memorial Day concert at Eden Park in honor of active and retired military. Enjoy an afternoon of patriotic and American music performed by fine young musicians. 2-3:15 p.m. Monday. Free. Seasongood Pavilion, 1600 Art Museum Drive, Mt. Adams, cincinnatisymphony.org.

Krohn Conservatory — View thousands of butterflies in this year’s Butterflies of Ecuador exhibit, celebrating the diversity of the South American country’s four unique climate zones. Today, active military and veterans will be admitted for free. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday. $10 adults; $7 youth (5-17 years). Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Mt. Adams, butterflyshow.com.

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden — Active and retired members of the military get free admission Memorial Day with the opportunity to purchase up to six half-price tickets for their immediate family members so the whole family can enjoy all the zoo has to offer (Hi, Fiona). 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Monday. $17.50 adult; $11.50 child and senior. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale, cincinnatizoo.org.

Vietnam Veteran Memorial Garden Dedication Ceremony — Eden Park has expanded its Vietnam memorial to include a more contemplative section geared toward those suffering from PTSD. The new area will have a garden with seating in the midst of a variety of plants, creating a calm atmosphere for those looking to decompress. 10-11 a.m. Saturday. Free. Eden Park, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Mt. Adams, searchable on facebook.com.

The Hunger Walk — The 16th annual Memorial Day Hunger Walk & 5K Run raises funds for the Freestore Foodbank. Since it began in 2004, the event has raised more than $1,800,000 — or 5,400,000 meals — for those in need in counties across Greater Cincinnati. Each race registration is a donation to assist the Freestore and its 450 partner food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and community centers, which, according to the Hunger Walk website, provide 27.3 million meals each year to children and families in Southwest Ohio, Southeast Indiana and Northern Kentucky. The race/walk route takes participants from West Pete Rose Way, into Covington and back to Smale Riverfront Park with the goal of fighting hunger with every step. 9 a.m. Monday (May 27). $25 with T-shirt; $20 without; $100 suggested fundraising goal. Race leaves from The Banks, Downtown, cincinnatihungerwalk.org.


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