Memorial Day has come to be known as the kick-off to the summer season, a day away from work and school, one filled with cook-offs, concerts, and festivals. However, Memorial Day was created for a more solemn purpose.
Originally called "Decoration Day," Memorial Day was created in 1865 to honor the men and women who died during the Civil War. After World War I, the purpose was expanded to include all American war casualties. There are numerous activities in and around Cleveland this Memorial Day Weekend. Below are just a few.
Many of the events listed below have been canceled or postponed in 2020. Please check each listing's website for more information.
Cleveland Indians Baseball
The Cleveland Indians are playing at the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Progressive Field.
Greek Heritage Festival
A Memorial Day tradition in Cleveland, the Greek Festival at Tremont's Church of the Annunciation, just south of downtown, transforms the quiet church into a Greek taverna.
The ladies of the church dish out more than 30,000 meals, including moussaka, Greek meatballs, and rosemary-grilled chicken. And, of course, there's baklava and other Greek pastries.
The younger members of the church dress in traditional garb and perform the historic dances of the old country. You'll also find a bazaar with Greek jewelry and other treasures as well as an outside beer garden with live music. Hours are Friday through Sunday from 11 am to 11 p.m.
Chagrin Falls Blossom Time Festival
Chagrin Falls celebrates Memorial Day weekend each year with the Blossom Time Festival. Activities include a Memorial Day parade, carnival rides, a hot air balloon competition, lots of fair food, and more. Events start Thursday evening and last through Monday.
Memorial Day Ceremony at the Garfield Monument
Each year, Lake View Cemetery hosts a Memorial Day ceremony on the steps of the Garfield Monument. The event begins on Monday at 10:30 am with a veteran's program and speaker and is followed by a spirited patriotic band concert. The public is invited to picnic on the lawn of the monument following the concert. Admission is free.
Berea Rib Cook-off
The Berea Rib Cook-off takes place at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds in Berea. The event features ribs and all of the fixings, live entertainment, kids activities, and more. Scheduled to perform are Brigid's Cross and the Chardon Polka Band.
Doors are open Friday from noon to 11 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 11 pm, and Monday from 11 am to 9 pm. Admission is free for all on Friday and $5 for adults on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday; children 12 and under are free; free parking.
Port Clinton Walleye Festival
The annual Port Clinton Walleye Festival runs from Thursday evening through Monday. Festivities include live entertainment, a petting zoo, carnival rides, and more than 100 food and merchandise vendors. The festival is located along Perry Street, in the heart of downtown Port Clinton.
Bay Village Memorial Day Ceremony and Parade
In Bay Village, the Memorial Day remembrance begins on Monday with a parade at Huntington Park at 8:45 am, followed by a ceremony at Cahoon Park at 9:45 am.