What to Do for Memorial Day 2016 in Tampa


On Memorial Day Weekend, we honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Throughout the country, communities observe the day by holding parades or remembrance events. Memorial Day Weekend is also the unofficial start of summer where many pools and beaches open and families dust off their barbeque grills for gatherings. Here in the Tampa Bay area, we really have no end to the summer season. Nevertheless, we have plenty of events to recognize this day of remembrance and celebration in the sun. Here are the top five events happening around Tampa Bay on Memorial Day Weekend.

The Florida Orchestra Pops: Stars and Stripes Hit Parade

The Florida Orchestra will feature two Memorial Day themed showings this weekend in Tampa and St. Petersburg. On Friday May 27, 2016, at the Straz Center, they kick off the weekend with a show full of marches and Americana favorites. This patriotic musical event includes songs such as "Armed Forces Salute," "Washington Post March," "Colonel Bogey March," "Yankee Doodle," Copland's 'Hoedown'" and "Saturday Night Waltz." On Saturday May 28, 2016, the Florida Orchestra will perform their salute of marches and American favorites on the other side of the bridge at the Mahaffey Theatre in St. Petersburg. Both shows start at 8:00 p.m.

Eighth Annual Memorial Day Fun Fest

​The Armed Forces Museum in Largo is once again hosting a family friendly fun fest on Monday May 30, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The event costs $10 for adults and $5 for children and tickets are sold at the event. The lineup of activities includes face painting, an obstacle course and video game truck, WWII re-enactors, museum tours, and a tractor pit.

Margarita Fest

Strictly for the 21 and over crowd, Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa will host the Margarita Fest on Saturday May 28, 2016 from noon to 11:00 p.m. The events features plenty of vendors peddling mixed and frozen versions of everyone's favorite tequila-based concoction as well as live music. The headliner this year is Blues Traveler. Food trucks will also be onsite and tickets for general or VIP admission can be purchased in advanced at reduced prices or a limited supply will be available at the gate. Prior to the gates opening, the event also features an inaugural 2.5 mile. For $45 you can engage in the run, get general admission tickets, and a tee shirt and commemorative bottle opener.

Brew Bus Tours

​For those who prefer to stay away from hard liquor, the Brew Bus is featuring several tours to take advantage of on the long weekend and enjoy the area craft brewery scene. Friday May 27, 2016 is the Sampler Tour: Downtown St. Pete. This tour departs from the Brew Bus Terminal and heads to Pinellas Ale Works, 3 Daughters, and Green Bench for a three hour event that includes two 4oz samples at each brewery and complementary beer on the bus. On Saturday May 28, 2016, the bus leaves from Sea Dog Brewing for a Full Pour Tour to Coppertail Brewing, Hidden Springs Ale Works, and Cigar City Brewing. This guided tour lasts four hours and includes a pint at each stop as well as beer on board. The tours wrap-up on Sunday with a Beach Day. Leaving at 11:30 a.m. from the terminal, the bus takes you to St. Pete Beach and back with beer and "beermosas" complementary on board.

Memorial Day Fireworks at Channelside Bay Plaza

On Sunday May 29, 2016, Channelside Bay Plaza with feature live music and a variety of food trucks stating at 5:00 p.m. The night is capped off with a fireworks display at 9:00 p.m. You can also view the display via the Memorial Day Cruise aboard the Yacht Starship. The cruise, which departs at 7:00 p.m., includes a three-course meal, DJ entertainment, dancing, and a view of the fireworks.

S.C. Appleton has lived in the Tampa area for over 15 years. She is a USF graduate, bay area sports fanatic, homebrewer, and craft beer junkie.