By Betsy Natter

Memorial Day marks the official start of summer, but traditionally it is the remembrance of those fallen soldiers who have defended and served our nation. Originally called Decoration Day, the practice of laying flowers and wreaths on the graves of fallen soldiers began in 1868 following the American Civil War. Remembrances have continued through the decades with parades and other celebrations being added. While many communities throughout Montgomery County hold annual parades, we’ve highlighted a few special events and fun activities to help you kick off your family’s summer fun.

Historic Observance

Norristown
Historic Montgomery Cemetery, 1 Hartranft Ave.
Norristown, PA 19401
(610) 272-0297

 A special observance honoring the service of soldiers and veterans interred at Historic Montgomery Cemetery will be held on Sat., May 27th beginning at 11 am. Wreathing laying and volley fire will take place at a variety of sites throughout the cemetery and children who attend will be allowed to assist with some activities. The program is sponsored by the Historical Society of Montgomery County with assistance from the Sheriff’s Department Color Guard, civil war reenactment groups and the Sons of Union Veterans, Baker Fisher Camp #101. Light refreshments will be served at the Gatehouse following the program.

Five Civil War Generals as well as over 400 veterans from the War of 1812 through the Korean War are buried in Montgomery Cemetery. The main entrance gate is locked to help prevent vandalism, but visitors are welcome to enter through the pedestrian gates. Although no longer used actively as a burial grounds, the cemetery is preserved as a monument to the men and woman who played important roles in our local and national history.

Decoration Day – Laurel Hill Cemetery
3822 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19132
(215) 228-8200

Join in on a traditional Decoration Day service at 12 noon on Sun., May 28th at Laurel Hill Cemetery, the site of the first Memorial Day Observance in Philadelphia in 1868. The event will take place in front of the resting place of General George Gordon Meade, hero of the Battle of Gettysburg, as all those who fell in service of the nation will be honored and remembered. Wreath laying, speeches and a color guard will be part of the observance. Complimentary beer and refreshments will be served. The event is free to the public, but a $5 donation is greatly appreciated in order to support the ongoing preservation work of the facility. Free parking is located across the street from the gatehouse entrance.

Parade Celebrates 300 Years! – Collegeville

The annual Memorial Day Parade for the Collegeville community is a bit special this year as it celebrates the 300th anniversary of the founding of its neighboring town, Trappe, PA. The parade will start at 10 am on Mon., May 29th at the Augustus Lutheran Church in Trappe on Seventh Ave. and proceed down Main St. in Trappe to Waterworks Park in Collegeville. A Remembrance Observance will take place at noon followed by a community fair with food, music and free entertainment and games for the kids.

Fun Festivals & Fireworks

Summer Fun – Hatboro
Miller Meadow – York Rd. & Horsham Rd.
Hatboro, PA 19040

Crank up the summer fun at this outdoor carnival during the week of May 23-29 at Miller Meadow in Hatboro. The festival features rides for all ages, games, live entertainment, food and a fireworks display on Friday night. Weekdays the gates open at 6 pm and Sat. through Memorial Day gates open at 2 pm. Discount wristbands are available each day. Visit http://www.hatboro.bartshow.com/index.html for more details. All proceeds support the Enterprise Fire Company of Hatboro.

Country Fair Days – Harleysville
Harleysville Community Center
435 Park Drive, Harleysville, PA

Relax and enjoy all the fun of a country fair from May 24 – 27th in Harleysville. Enjoy live music while munching on traditional fair food, hop on some rides and take in a spectacular fireworks display Friday night. Saturday’s festivities will begin with a traditional parade down Main Street. Check the website for a complete listing of sponsors and scheduled entertainment. The festival is sponsored by the Harleysville Jaycees as an annual fundraiser for their community support work. 

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