Memorial Day weekend events around Kansas City

Events include concerts, rodeo, solemn ceremonies

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - In addition to honoring our nation's war dead, Memorial Day serves as the unofficial start of summer, and there are a multitude of holiday events happening around town this weekend, including the opening of municipal pools Saturday in Kansas City, Mo., and Overland Park, Kan.

What sponsors call the largest free holiday weekend event in the Midwest returns Sunday for its 10th anniversary. The Kansas City Symphony, under the baton of maestro Michael Stern, will play patriotic favorites against the backdrop of historic Union Station. The "Bank of America Celebration at the Station" starts at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 27, and concludes with a fireworks display at 9:15 p.m. Grounds open at 3 p.m. Food and drink will be available for purchase at the station. Blankets and lawn chairs are encouraged. KC native, former U.S. Air Force General and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard B. Meyers will narrate a salute to the armed forces.

Up the hill from Union Station, the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial will host a display of vintage military vehicles on its southeast lawn Sunday and Monday, May 27 and 28. It will also be the location of a Memorial Day observance that begins at 9 a.m. Monday, May 28. The ceremony includes a parade of color guards from local military, ROTC and Boy Scouts. The WW I Museum, which is normally closed on Mondays, will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Memorial Day. Regular admission fees will be charged.

The fifth annual Jiggle Jam Family Music Fest takes place Saturday and Sunday, May 26 and 27, at Crown Center Square. The family-oriented event features more than two dozen live musicians and other entertainers, plus crafts and educational activities. Admission is $15 a person at the gate; kids under 2 are free. For more details, visit

The Abdallah Shrine Rodeo returns to the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds in Tonganoxie, Kan., May 25 and 26, but this year with the addition of a demolition derby. The car-crashing event starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 26. Admission is $12 for adults, $4 for children age 6-12; kids 5 and under are free. For details, visit

It's going to be hot this weekend. How about a visit to a water park?

The Schlitterbahn KC Water Park opens for its third season at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 26, after an off-season expansion that nearly doubled its size. The new rides includes what Schlitterbahn calls Kansas City's only surf ride, a rapids river, two head-first mat slides, an enclosed, dark tube slide and a ride-up "Aqua Veyer." General admission is $46.98 for adults; $38.98 for children and seniors. For more information, visit kc. In addition, Oceans of Fun opens for the 30th season at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 26. Admission is $29.99 for adults; $17.99 for children and seniors. For details, visit

Sporting KC takes on the San Jose Earthquakes at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, May 27, at Livestrong Sporting Park. For details, visit

The 25th annual Amy Thompson Run for Brain Injury takes place Monday, May 28, with the start-finish line at Loose Park. Events include an 8K run, a 5K run/walk, a new, one-mile untimed Walk for Thought and a Kiddie Dash. The 8K and 5 K courses are certified and chip timed. Participants will also enjoy, music, food and drink as they participate. Proceeds benefit the Brain Injury Association of Kansas and Greater Kansas City. You can register on race day, starting at 6:30 a.m. at a cost of $35 per event. For details, visit

In addition to the big event at Liberty Memorial on Monday morning, at least two other ceremonies are scheduled on Memorial Day itself.

The Simpson-Hoggatt Detachment of the Marine Corps League will hold its 70th annual Memorial Day ceremony at 8 a.m. Monday, May 28, at Mount Moriah Cemetery, 10507 Holmes Road. The program features the Ararat Shrine Temple Bag Pipes & Drums, color guard and firing detail presented by 24th Marine Regiment Headquarters in Kansas City, wreath placement and Memorial Day address. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call Ken Spencer, (913) 362-8383.

Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens and Chapel Hill-Butler Funeral Home, in partnership with American Legion Post 188, will hold their annual Memorial Day Service of Remembrance at 11:30 a.m. Monday, May 28, outside the funeral home, 701 N. 94th St. in Kansas City, Mo. The event is free and open to the public. Call (913) 334-3366 for more information.

Is there an event you plan on attending that's not on the list? Post a comment below with the details!

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