Top Seven Things to do this Memorial Day Weekend


Memorial Day doesn’t have to be spent cooped up in your house or backyard. The following are the best events in Iowa- since this is a long weekend I have tried to include some spots outside of Des Moines for those who want to get out of town- that will help you celebrate this national day of remembrance.

  1. Decoration Day-May 25- Held at Living History Farms from 9am-4pm this event starts with a procession to their cemetery. Once the procession is complete, a Victorian speech will be given to honor the Union’s fallen heroes. Stay for the Bluestockings 1870’s rules based baseball game that starts at 1:30pm.

  2. Iowa Barnstormers vs. Bismark Bucks– May 25- Starting at 7:05pm, this is a good way to start your holiday weekend by forgetting the outside world and watching some indoor football. This is a great way to get your entire family together to do something outside of the house and should appeal to most people in your group.

  3. John Wayne Birthday Celebration-May 24-25- You’ll have to head out to Winterset to join this celebration but this is a must for those who are big fans of John Wayne.  Red Steagall, who hails from Texas and has been a performer for 45 years, is the featured performer this year.  A parade in John Wayne’s honor will feature the Wells Fargo stagecoach and the Winterset theater will present three of Wayne’s movies.  This is a good choice for those wanting something out of the box to do for the weekend.

  4. Iowa Veteran’s Museum Memorial Day-May 27- The Waterloo Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veteran Memorial will be having special Memorial day events at the Memorial that are family friendly and will teach everyone in your family the true meaning of the holiday. Be sure to catch the Waterloo Memorial Day parade. The memorial will offer a free lunch to the first 100 visitors to their museum (paid admission is required to participate in the free lunch) as a special treat as well as a planetarium show in the afternoon.

  5. Iowa Cubs vs New Orleans Baby Cakes– May 20- The game starts at 12:08 and if you’re wanting to catch a baseball game this weekend, this will be the only game before the Cubs head out of town to play in El Paso. Watching a baseball is about as American as you can get so buy plenty of hot dogs and cracker jacks and make sure you stick around after the game to catch their impressive fireworks show.

  6. CelebrAsianMay 24-25- 11am-10pm both days- If you’re wanting to do something outside of the box to celebrate Memorial Day or you would like the opportunity to learn more about Asian, Asian American and Pacific Island cultures. There’s educational activities to help give a more personal perspective of what it’s like to not only be Asian in America but also to be Asian in Iowa.

  7. World War II Memorial Day Remembrance-May 27-8 a.m.- Located at the Freedom Flame memorial on East 13th and Grand Avenue, this yearly event is free to the public and honors those who lost their lives in World War II. This would be an excellent learning event for children to see the survivors and to hear their stories about what they went through to protect our freedom. The “National Moment of Remembrance” will be at 3 p.m. so even if you aren’t at the Memorial at that time, try to remember to set aside a moment to remember those who have lost their lives protecting our country.


For the best summer events in Des Moines, click here.

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