This year’s Memorial Day falls on Monday, May 30. As the unofficial kick start to summer, Memorial Day is a favorite holiday for Pittsburghers looking to get outdoors and enjoy good food, great friends and plenty of family friendly fun. Free events are easy to find all throughout the region, ranging from traditional old-fashioned festivities to heart-pounding state-of-the-art fireworks displays. Check out these five Memorial Day events geared to all ages.
Cooper’s Lake Campground
205 Currie Road
Butler, PA 16057
Date: May 28-29, 2016 at 3 p.m.; rain date May 30 at 3 p.m.
Pittsburghers don’t have to venture far to find what’s considered America’s greatest fireworks display. Set on the lovely Cooper’s Lake, this annual event draws thousands of locals for its jaw-dropping fireworks display, endless entertainment and family focused fun. Pack along your Memorial Day essentials and get ready to witness a weekend of spectacular color, patriotic fireworks, and unique festival activities. This year’s show will highlight a tribute to America’s military troops, a Phantom Fireworks display and the World Premiere of Spain’s own Ricardo Caballer Ricasa Fireworks Production. PyroFest is produced by Pyrotecnico. Individual general admission tickets as well as weekend VIP passes are available online at PyroFest.com.
1000 Sandcastle Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15120
Dates: May 28-30, 2016 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Nothing says summer is almost here like the opening of Pittsburgh’s own Sandcastle Waterpark. Spend Memorial Day weekend soaking up the sun with the park’s many slides and rides, including the Dragon’s Den, Blue Tubaluba and Lightning Express. Kids of all ages can cool off splashing and swimming at Wet Willie’s Water Works in the Tad Pool or join Mom and Dad in the Mon-Tsunami wave pool. Don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch for a true Memorial Day celebration feast. Sandcastle Waterpark is located minutes from downtown Pittsburgh in the city’s Homestead neighborhood.
Venture Outdoors Festival
Point State Park
101 Commonwealth Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Date: May 21, 2016 at 12 p.m.
For those who have been anxiously awaiting all season to get outdoors, the Venture Outdoors Festival is the perfect opportunity to get in some free family friendly fun and sun at Point State Park. Experience all the exciting outdoor activities the city has to offer, such as rock climbing, fishing, kayaking, dragon boating and more. Younger children will love the KidZone crafts and happenings that feature nature-inspired projects, giant bubbles, sidewalk chalk drawings and scavenger hunts. Create memories and adventures that will last long past summer. The Venture Outdoors Festival is scheduled from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free.
Cross Creek Lake
Cross Creek, PA 15321
Date: May 29, 2016
If you didn’t purchase your fishing license in time, don’t fret; Pennsylvania’s Fish & Boat Commission offers fish-for-free days throughout the year, the first of which falls on Memorial Day weekend. Residents and non-residents are welcome to legally fish on any of Pennsylvania’s waterways. A prime place to cast your rod is at Washington County’s Cross Creek Lake, locals’ favorite spot for freshwater bass fishing. There is roughly 258 acres of beautiful countryside with access to a paved boat ramp, handicapped-accessible pier and numerous public docks that make fishing convenient and enjoyable. Get ready for an afternoon of family fishing fun at Cross Creek Lake, located near the communities of Avella and Hickory in Washington County.
Memorial Day Celebration 2016
Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum
4141 Fifth Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Date: May 30, 2016 at 11 a.m.
Honor our military during a wonderful annual event hosted by Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum, Memorial Day Celebration 2016. This free community event begins with a touching ceremonial tribute for fallen Pennsylvania service members during an old-fashioned USA celebration. All ages will enjoy an afternoon of entertainment, museum tours, children’s activities, raffles and door prizes from donors like Eat ‘n Park, Phipps Conservatory, Kennywood and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Memorial Day Celebration runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum located in Oakland.
Jessica Wasik is a graduate of Robert Morris University with a degree in English Studies. She is also a contributing writer for Examiner.com. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.