Celebrate Memorial Day AZ Style

Memorial Day is a day on which those who died in active military service are remembered. Traditionally, Memorial Day was observed on May 30, but now it is officially observed on the last Monday in May. This year it is on May 25.

Memorial Day flags and grave stones

Memorial Day brings with it a three day weekend, so many Arizonans will celebrate with backyard barbecues, or short trips to beat the heat. Here is a small sampling of some fun you can have in Arizona this long weekend.


  • Go Salt River Tubing

This year they are hosting the 20th Annual “Salt River Heroes = Litter Zero” May 23-25. Tube rental doors open at 8 AM Daily. Tube rental and shuttle service are $17 per person, if you bring your own tube shuttle service is $14. (Cash Only!) Live entertainment will be provided by the KMLE, JAMZ, and KKFR radio stations. Don’t forget your sunblock and hats, and be sure to drink plenty of water!


  • Go to an Art Show

Payson will be hosting a Memorialfest Art and Craft Bazaar May 23 – 25. Items will be for sale from 9am – 5pm daily, admission and parking are free. While you are in Payson you can stop in at the Country Barbecue- Memorial Saturday. This event runs from 3pm – 7pm. Enjoy live music and delicious food such as Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Hot Dogs and Burgers, Gluten Free BLT Wraps, Potato Salad & Kohl Slaw, and Dessert. Another option Saturday in Payson would be to attend their local farmers market open 8am – noon.


  • Get Patriotic

In Tucson, they have several different events going on to celebrate the men and women who lost their lives protecting our country. The Funeraria Del Angel South Lawn Cemetery – at 5401 South Park Avenue has different events going on all weekend. Friday, May 22 they will have a free screening of The Sandlot at 7:30pm, there will be concessions available for purchase. Saturday, May 23 beginning at 8am Boy Scouts will place flags on the veterans’ graves across the cemetery. Monday, May 25 at 9am there will be services with VFW Post 549. The Tucson Concert Band will perform Taps.  A color presentation will be presented by Tucson Detachment 007 Marine Corps League and Piper William Don Carlos followed by a rifle salute and dove release. A barbeque will be served immediately following the ceremony on Monday, at 10 a.m. May 23-25 there will also be a Memorial Museum open from 9am – 5pm.

Two Valley Cemeteries will have a Memorial Day Observance on Monday, May 25. In Phoenix at the Cemetery and Pioneer and Military Memorial Park, and Chandler at the Sun Mortuary American heroes will be honored with a traditional ceremony that includes a posting of the colors, rifle salute and taps, and a wreath presentation.


  • Make a Splash

Wet ‘n’ Wild in Phoenix is having a Salute to our Heroes event. They are hosting an entire weekend of family fun with firework displays on Saturday and Sunday and an all-you-can-eat barbecue. The barbecue is served from 7pm- 8:30pm to in the picnic area. There will be hot dogs and grilled chicken, salad, corn-on-the-cob, sliced fruit, western-style beans, and Coca-Cola beverages. The firework shows are free with park admission and begin at 9:30pm.


  • Get One with Nature, Go Camping

Arizona is a magnificent state with many striking places you can go. Try camping near Payson and visit the Tonto Natural Bridge before heading into town for the art show. Or head down near Tucson and visit Kartchner Caverns, you can stay in their camp ground or in the wilderness nearby. Head on up to the Mogollon Rim area and camp near one of the lakes and go fishing! Sedona is beautiful this time of year too, head to Slide Rock early as it gets crowded quick this time of year. These are an extremely small sampling of gorgeous locations to choose from, a quick on-line search will pull up many more.


Stay safe and have fun, and never forget why it is we have this day on our calendars. Thank you to all of our active and inactive troops, and thank you to those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we may remain free. Gone but never forgotten.


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