2021 Memorial Day Weekend Events and Festivals in Northern Virginia

Memorial Day Weekend events in Northern Virginia honor the fallen with ceremonies and salutes. The long weekend also kicks off the summer with festivals and fireworks. Our guide to 2021 Memorial Day weekend events in Northern Virginia covers activities in and near Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William Counties.

Last year, all of the annual Memorial Day activities on our list were canceled, but some have returned in 2021.

Memorial Day Weekend events are listed below in two sections. First are Memorial Day events in Northern Virginia that salute the brave men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. The second section highlights events that mark the unofficial start of summer with fun and festivals during the long weekend. Follow the links for additional details about each event.

Memorial Day Weekends Events in Northern Virginia Honor the Fallen

Annual events at National Park sites and local towns honor our nation’s fallen. Gather to remember and salute the brave heroes who gave all for their country at these Memorial Day weekend events in Northern Virginia.

The Flags In ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery is held the Thursday before Memorial Day
Flags In at Arlington National Cemetery

“Flags In”, Arlington National Cemetery, May 27

For more than 60 years, the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) has honored America’s fallen heroes by placing American flags at grave sites for service members buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The tradition begins at 2:00 pm on the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend. Within four hours, the soldiers place flags in front of more than 228,000 headstones and at the bottom of about 7,000 niche rows in the cemetery’s Columbarium Courts and the Niche Wall. Visitors may watch, but do not participate in placing flags.

Flags remain at the grave sites throughout the Memorial Day weekend. It’s an incredibly moving sight, and a popular time to visit.

Wreath Laying Ceremonies, Arlington National Cemetery, TBA

Many military organizations conduct annual memorial services, wreath-laying ceremonies, and observances at Arlington during the Memorial Day weekend. Many ceremonies and special events are free and open to the public.

  • On May 29, there will be an Armed Forces Full Honors Wreath-Laying Ceremony in honor of President John F. Kennedy at the Kennedy gravesite. The ceremony begins at 9:50 and the public is welcome.
  • Traditionally, Arlington National Cemetery hosts a National Memorial Day Observance to honor America’s fallen military service members. The observance includes wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and an observance program in the Memorial Amphitheater. In 2021, this ceremony is closed to the public.
  • The Women In Military Service For America Memorial, located at the gateway to Arlington National Cemetery, will hold a ceremony that includes formal military honors, a keynote address, wreath-laying, and scattering of rose petals in tribute to departed comrades. Members of the public are invited to join in the personal tribute segment of the program. 4:00.

Plan Your Visit: 5 Ways to Explore Arlington National Cemetery

Rolling to Remember, Fairfax, May 28 – 21

The annual Rolling to Remember (formerly Ride of the Patriots®) is a four-day event that normally includes the largest police escorted motorcycle ride to Rolling Thunder®, the largest single-day motorcycle event in the world. The ride and all events originate at Patriot Harley-Davidson in the City of Fairfax. 2021 events are scaled back. Weekend activities include a ride to the candlelight vigil at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and two smaller rides at 11:00 on Saturday and Sunday. Follow the link for full schedule details.

Memorial Day Ceremony, Falls Church, May 31

Honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country. The Memorial Day Ceremony includes remarks or performances by the Falls Church Veterans Council, the Falls Church Concert Band, and more. Gather at the Veteran’s Memorial (pre-registration required) or watch online.

Memorial Day Ceremony, Leesburg, May 31

This annual observance commemorates those who have lost their lives in battle, serving the United States, and recognizes the brave military men and women who serve our country. Held at the Loudoun County Court House, this ceremony is highlighted by the reverent laying of the wreaths at several war memorials. 10:00

Memorial Day Weekend Events in Northern VA Kick Off Summer Fun

The summer season kicks off with Memorial Day weekend events throughout Northern VA weekend. Multi-day annual festivals and single-day events give residents and visitors plenty of choices for fun things to do in the Northern Virginia area during the long Memorial Day weekend.

Viva! Vienna! Festival, Vienna, May 29 – 31

ViVa! Vienna! is a family and community-oriented celebration of Memorial Day and the greater Vienna Community spirit with rides, food, crafts, vendors, and entertainment. 100% of proceeds go to charitable, community, and humanitarian organizations. Space is limited in 2021 so get your tickets early. Sat and Sun 10:00 – 10:00, Mon 10:00 – 6:00.

Viva! Vienna! festival is one of the annual Memorial Day weekend events in Northern Virginia
Viva Vienna concessions

Strawberry Jubilee, Great Country Farms, May 29 – Jun 1

Head to Great Country Farms and join the longest-running strawberry festival in Loudoun County. The Jubilee is packed with live music, farm contests (including the daily Diaper Derby), and infamously yummy Donut Strawberry Shortcake. $14//16 child/adult (weekdays $10/$12). 10:00 – 5:00.

Women’s Baseball Tournament Diamond Classic, Purcellville, May 29 – 31

The all-women’s baseball tournament features 7 teams and approximately 100 players from the U.S. and Canada. The nation’s longest-running women’s baseball tournament, the Diamond Classic represents skill, dedication, sportsmanship, and fun. Follow the link for the game schedules and field locations. All games are FREE and the public is welcome.

Annual Memorial Day Jazz Festival, Alexandria, May 29

The Annual Memorial Day Jazz Festival features a variety of musicians and diverse styles of jazz throughout the day. Food will be available for pre-order purchase. Admission is free but attendance is limited and you must register in advance. 4:00 – 9:00

Memorial Day Festival and Parade, Falls Church, May 31

The Annual Memorial Day Parade and Festival offers a day of family fun. A 3K Fun Run and the Memorial Day Ceremony and Parade highlight the event, plus enjoy amusement rides, arts and crafts, food, pony rides, and live entertainment. A Veterans Ceremony will be held at 11:00. Free admission; 9:00 – 5:00.

Wolf Trap Summer Blast-off!, Canceled

“The President’s Own” United States Marine Band launches Wolf Trap’s summer season with a program of concert band favorites, followed by a fireworks display. The event is free but arrive early to guarantee a spot; the park will close at capacity. Gates open at 6:30 pm for Lawn seating. Fireworks viewing area opens following the performance, at approximately 9:30 pm. Fireworks begin at approximately 9:45 pm.

Delaplane Strawberry Festival, Sky Meadows State Park, Canceled

The annual family-friendly Delaplane Strawberry Festival returns to Sky Meadows State Park every May. Enjoy hayrides, old fashioned field games, dancing, music, magic, storytelling, crafts, a petting farm, an antique car show, a bake sale, hiking, face painting, cake-walking, a corn hole tournament, a monkey and more. Pack your own picnic or purchase pizza, wraps, hot dogs, funnel cakes, and, of course, strawberry shortcake and sundaes. Enjoy the day then take home a flat of delicious fresh strawberries. $25 per vehicle. 10:00 – 5:00.

Plan your visit: Explore Sky Meadows State Park in Northern Virginia

Northern Virginia Waterparks Open for the 2021 Season

Pirates Cove Waterpark
Pirates Cove Waterpark

Memorial Day weekend events in Northern Virginia include the opening of waterparks throughout the region (cross your fingers for warm weather). The expanded Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole in Reston, along with Signal Bay and Splashdown Waterparks in Manassas, open for the season on May 29th. Check individual pool sites for new rules and restrictions.

Whichever 2021 Memorial Day weekend events in Northern Virginia you choose to attend, we wish everyone a safe and rain-free weekend.

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