Memorial Day has two vastly different sides to it: on the one hand, it's a time when the nation pauses to honor our country's fallen military, but on the other, it's a kick-off for the summer season. If you're in the greater Phoenix area, there are events for both. Just remember that if you're celebrating the start of summer fun, you can participate in The National Moment of Remembrance—at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, Americans are encouraged to pause for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who died while serving the country.
At this Memorial Day Weekend event in Phoenix, more than 200 motorcyclists pay tribute by lining Cave Creek Road, the entrance to the National Cemetery, with 500 U.S. flags and greeting visitors who enter to pay their respects. Entrance is free, but for a $10 donation, you can sponsor a flag for a veteran by registering online. While in the past, this event has taken place on Memorial Day only, it's now a full weekend affair in 2019, with set-up and evening barbecues taking place from Friday to Sunday. On Monday, the National Anthem will be sung at 7 a.m. at the National Cemetery, a flyover will take place at 7:45 a.m. and the official ceremony will take place at 8 a.m.
When: Friday, May 24–Monday, May 27
Where: National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, 23029 N. Cave Creek Road, Phoenix, AZ 85024
The public is invited to attend the Pioneers' Cemetery Association's annual Memorial Day observance at the Pioneer & Military Memorial Park. There will be a ceremony at 9 a.m., after which attendees can tour the Smurthwaite House and any of the seven historic cemeteries. Local historical societies will be on hand to answer questions.
This is a free event. Parking is available at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza.
When: Monday, May 287
Where: Pioneer & Military Memorial Park, 1317 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix, AZ 85007
The Arizona Academy of the Performing Arts hosts a Memorial Day Picnic at Apache Junction High School in Apache Junction. There will be food, of course, but also performances by students. This is a ticketed event, and you can buy them online.
When: Monday, May 27
Where: Apache Junction High School, 2525 S. Ironwood Drive, Apache Junction, AZ 85120
Formerly known as Phoenix Comic Fest, the Phoenix Fan Fusion convention features panels and meet-and-greets with pop culture and comic icons from across generations. More than 50,000 people attend annually. In 2019, guests will include George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, and Walter Koenig from Star Trek; Jeff Goldblum; Elijah Wood; and many others.
When: May 23–26
Where: Phoenix Convention Center, 100 North 3rd St., Phoenix, AZ 85004
Though the 2019 details haven't been announced, Scottsdale's famous RELEASE pool parties at the Talking Stick Resort usually begin in early May, with a big bash on Memorial Day Weekend. Expect a Vegas-style, club-like experience with DJs blasting music.
Where: Talking Stick Resort, 9800 Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85256