Memorial Day Salutes to Freedom

This weekend is the official beginning of summer, and there are plenty of activities to fill this Memorial Day holiday. In addition to the usual live music, grilling and outdoor fun, why not take a moment to remember why Memorial Day was established?

Here are just a few of the area events that have patriotic themes or that invite attendees to honor those who have died in military service.

Freedom Balloon Festival in Fuquay-Varina

Hot air balloons will fill the air over Fuquay-Varina’s Fleming Loop Park during the Freedom Balloon Fest, May 25-28. This annual Memorial Day weekend event includes live music, food trucks, arts and crafts vendors, plus tethered balloon rides and nightly “glows.”

Admission is free, but balloon rides are $20 each with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Project Uplift USA. The nonprofit provides hot air balloon experiences to military veterans and their families, promotes science education through ballooning, and honors those who have died in service to our nation.

Visitors are invited to purchase flags, which will fill a reflecting area at Fleming Loop Park. On Memorial Day, volunteers will take the flags to cemeteries, military monuments, and VA nursing facilities. Organizers hope to sell 10,000 flags at $3 each. All proceeds of flag sales go to AMVETS Service Foundation. freedomballoonfest.com

Triangle Wind Ensemble’s American Celebration: Salute to Cinema

The Triangle Wind Ensemble presents its annual tribute to American artists on Sunday, May 27, at Koka Booth Amphitheatre. The concert, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., will include music by composers such as Maurice Jarre (Lawrence of Arabia), Bill Conti (Rocky) and John Williams (Star Wars), as well as some of your favorite Disney tunes. Vocalists Nate Alston and Jenn Myers will sing selections from Moana, The Greatest Showman and Despicable Me 2. trianglewind.org

Town of Cary Memorial Day Remembrance

The Town of Cary invites citizens and visitors to its free Memorial Day Remembrance at Veteran’s Freedom Park, 1513 N. Harrison Ave., on Monday, May 28, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. The ceremony will feature speakers from the town and local armed forces community support groups. The Cary Town Band will perform patriotic music throughout the event and Carolina Veterans Support Group will provide a field of flags. townofcary.org

Remember Our Heroes Car Show in Holly Springs

On Saturday, May 26, the Remember Our Heroes Car Show at Ting Park will raise money for the Holly Springs Veterans Park War on Terrorism Memorial. From 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., attendees can enjoy food, fun and lots of classic cars, trucks and motorcycles. Attendees can order memorial bricks in the monument; participate in a prize drawing and mingle among some beautiful vehicles. https://www.facebook.com/events/1887091224936774/

LAPS of Honor Fundraiser in Cary

The U.S. Veterans Corps will host Laps of Honor, a swimming fundraiser, on Monday, May 28, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Glenridge Community Pool in Cary. Military representatives and members of the N.C. State Swim Team will swim laps to honor specific fallen veterans or groups of veterans. All funds will benefit the U.S. Veterans Corps which supports missions including Operation Coming Home, Toys for Lil’ Troops and Rescue Ruck. For more information or to donate, see the Facebook event page.

The Buddy Poppy Event at N.C. Museum of History

Members of VFW Post 7383 will be at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh on Saturday, May 26, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. They will be at the WWI Exhibit and hand out Buddy Poppies, the official memorial flower of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. ncmuseumofhistory.org

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