Memorial day is important because it is a day on which we remember those who died in active military service. In Pittsburgh, there are several great ways to have fun with your family and pay your respects at the same time!
Lawrenceville Memorial Day Parade
Head to Lawrenceville on Monday, May 25 at 10 am for the 107th annual Memorial Day Parade. It starts at 40th and Butler Streets and runs for about 45 minutes. The parade is one of the longest running in the country.
The parade features marching bands, veterans organizations, military vehicles, the Pittsburgh Police, fire and paramedics groups, Horse Color Guard, dogs, classic cars, local sports mascots (Pirate Parrot, Iceburg and Steely McBeam) and the Lawrenceville Freedom Riders motorcycles. There's even a cement truck!
Get there by 9:15 am. Butler Street closes at 9:30 am from 40th Street up to Allegheny Cemetery. Streets above and below Butler will still be accessible.
Park on a Side Street. There's no parking on Butler Street after 9:30 a.m. Try to find a spot on one of the side streets bordering Butler.
Claim your Spot - Butler gets pretty crowded but there are plenty of good areas to watch the parade. Stand on the sidewalk, sit on the curb, bring a chair, or pack a blanket and sit in Leslie Park (46th and Butler Street).
Allegheny Cemetery Memorial Ceremony/Activities
Immediately following the parade, there are a variety of free activities in Allegheny Cemetery.
Here are some of the things you can do:
Attend the Tribute Service at the Soldiers Memorial (about quarter mile from Butler Street entrance). A solemn ceremony honoring fallen service members, veterans, and current military members. The ceremony includes patriotic musical selections, a 21-gun salute and dove release.
Be inspired. Take a moment to take in the awe-inspiring view of thousands of flags waving in the breeze on soldiers' graves. Flags are place by volunteers the week before the parade.
Bring the Kids! Free face painting and music. The kids can even take a dip in the fountain!
Listen to Music. 96.9 Bob FM will be playing lots of great tunes.
Check out the Classic & Antique Car Show and Blessing of the Bikes from 12:30-2:30 pm.
Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum's annual Memorial Day Celebration
Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum's annual Memorial Day Celebration is Monday, May 25, from 11 am to 4 pm. It is a free community event, and an old-fashioned American celebration remembering our military. There will be a special ceremony for fallen Pennsylvania service members from the War on Terrorism, a Drum Corps performance by the 6th Regiment USCT, and a patriotic concert by the Brassroots. They are also featuring children's activities such as face painting, balloon artists, costume characters, a photo booth, and more! Adult activities include a raffle auction, contests, door prizes, and museum tours. Check out their online flyer for more information.
Looking for something to do on Friday and Saturday? Come to Pyrofest! Imagine an entire festival geared towards one thing - fireworks - and lots of them! Taking place at Cooper Lake in Butler County, this family-friendly event not only offers some of the best pyrotechnic displays ever seen, there's also a special salute to the troops, live music, great food, and even a kid zone for the little ones. PyroFest ticket prices range from $10-$140, and festival hours are Friday: 5-11 pm and Saturday: 3-11 pm.
Whatever you end up doing, remember to thank a veteran, spend time with your family, and wear some red, white and blue!