It is hard to believe the kick off weekend for the summer is already here. The official first day of summer is not until June 21st, but historically, Memorial Day weekend is the weekend that truly kicks off the summer travel and driving season. Many families will be traveling to the Outer Banks or Wilmington to enjoy some beautiful beach weather. Others will head west to the mountains to take in the sights and sounds of Asheville or the Great Smokies. If you do not want to get away, there will be plenty to do in Chapel Hill and Durham.
Some of the Orange County Memorial Day Events include:
Friday, May 22nd, 2015
Burwell School Historic Site Guided Tours
The site’s free docent-led tours highlight life at the Burwell School from 1837-1857 when it was home to the Burwell family, the enslaved members of the Burwell household and the students of the Burwell’s landmark school for young women. Burwell School, 319 North Churton St, Hillsborough, (919) 732-7451
Fridays on the Porch – Carolina Inn
Live music creates the perfect atmosphere for kicking back, relaxing and getting a jump on the weekend. Tonight’s performance by Acoustic Manner (With Hank). Food trucks Chickenque and D’Burritos. Carolina Inn, 211 Pittsboro St, Chapel Hill, (919) 933-2001
Strawberry Farm Dinner
Four courses farm dinner inspired by Lyon Farm’s incredible strawberries. From strawberry gazpacho to Mill’s Family Farm short ribs with strawberry poblano mole, you’ll see why we love to eat local. $45 per person, includes wine pairing. Root Cellar Cafe & Catering, 750 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Chapel Hill, (919) 967-3663
Saturday, May 23rd, 2015
Flag Placement at Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery
Veterans gather at Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery at about 6:30am to decorate graves of local veterans. Flags are provided by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Chapel Hill Post 9100. Only marked graves are decorated. Local scouts assist. It takes about 30 minutes to decorate all 500+ graves. At 8am the VFW holds a Memorial Day cemetery service. The origins of the holiday are shared and locally interred veterans are honored. Taps signals the end of the service and honors the dead. The service is open to the public. Veterans gather after the service for breakfast at Bob Evans Restaurant at 9am. American Legion Post 6, 1714 Legion Rd, Chapel Hill
Car Races at the Orange County Speedway
Military Appreciation Night All Military/Veterans $5 with ID Late Models, Limited, Pure Stock, Street Stock, Super Mini trucks and Southern Ground Pounders, Mod 4. Regular Racing Season General Admission – $10 for Adults, $8 for Discount tickets (Seniors 65+, Students with ID and Military with ID), $1 for Youth 10 & Under. Front Gates Open at 5 pm, Green Flag at 7 pm. Orange County Speedway, 9740 NC Highway 57 North, Rougemont, (336) 364-1222
Sunday, May 25th, 2015
Family and Friends Sunday
Spend an interactive, art-filled day with family and friends at the Ackland Art Museum. Things to do: Conduct an “Art Interview” with your friend or family member – pick up a question sheet and pencil at the Information Desk, Play art games like Ackland Art Bingo, or challenge yourself and your friends to solving Ackland “Art in a Jar” puzzles, Make your own version of the Ackland’s “Artwork of the Month”, Teens and adults might especially enjoy taking a conversational Take Two Tour with two experts. Free to all ages. Ackland Art Museum, 101 South Columbia St, Chapel Hill, (919) 966-5736
A Southern Village Summer Outdoor Concert Original
Mountain Country Music with Dana and Sue Robinson. Free. Southern Village, Market St, Chapel Hill, (919) 969-7301
Monday, May 26th, 2015
Memorial Day Service and Events
Veterans gather at Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery at 8AM to attend a Veterans of Foreign Wars hosted Memorial Day cemetery service. The origins of the holiday are shared, thoughts shared, and locally interred veterans are remembered. The service is open to the public. The cemetery graves are decorated with flags on veteran graves. 10 AM – American Legion Open House, 11 AM – Memorial Day Speaker, Noon – Wreath Laying at the Flag Pole 12:30 PM – Village Band performs and Maple View Ice Cream. 2 PM – Event ends American Legion Post 6, 1714 Legion Rd, Chapel Hill
Remember that Memorial Day is a three day weekend and some people will thoroughly enjoy themselves; maybe too much. While an adult beverage or two is not bad it is important to know your limits. There will likely be DUI checkpoints on Raleigh Road just off UNC’s campus and on Rosemary behind Franklin Street. If you have had some alcoholic beverages it is better to find a designated driver or simply get an Uber driver.
If you know of any other great events going on in the Chapel Hill or Orange County area on Memorial Day weekend please feel free to comment below.