Memorial Day Events in Southern California

Memorial Day is a remembrance of the efforts and sacrifices of U.S. soldiers, past and present. But the holiday is also the gateway to the summer season, opening festivities to three months of outdoor activities and dog days. And though Southern California basks in warm weather most of the year, the residents are no less enthusiastic about the arrival of summertime fun. There are a number of popular activities in the area to help you ring in the season.

The Garden Grove Strawberry Festival

This Orange County institution has been around since 1958, a Memorial Day tradition. The festival starts on Friday, opening a four-day carnival filled with 44 rides, games, and concessions. There is also a Tiny Tots King and Queen contest, the winner of which gets to participate in the parade. Saturday attracts the biggest crowds with the annual Strawberry Parade, filled with floats and local marching bands, and lead by a celebrity Grand Marshall. Past Marshalls have included Martin Landau, Mickey Rooney, and Hayley Duff. Also popular with locals is the Redhead Roundup, a contest honoring the bright, strawberry manes of its participants. And as you might imagine, strawberry shortcake is the dish of note at this annual celebration, and each year they attempt to construct a cake that is bigger than ever before. The Garden Grove Strawberry Festival Village Green Park 12732 Main St. Garden Grove, CA, 92840

The Smooth Jazz 98.1 Gaslamp Festival

For something a little different, try KIFM's Smooth Jazz Festival in San Diego's Gaslamp district. This 21 and over event brings together some of the biggest names in smooth jazz for a day-long concert. The businesses in the Gaslamp Quarter throw their doors open for the thousands of visitors seeking out good music and good food. During the festival, two main stages are used for headlining acts, while 25 local clubs and eateries serve as additional stages for smaller acts. All proceeds from ticket sales go directly to the San Diego Gaslamp Quarter Association, which works to preserve the district, made a historical landmark in 1980. Past acts include Norman Brown, Eric Darius and Marc Antroine. The Smooth Jazz 98.1 Gaslamp Festival

Fiesta Hermosa

Entering its 38th year is Fiesta Hermosa, held each Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend in Hermosa Beach. This beach-side festival is known as the "largest arts and crafts fair in Southern California," with more than 250 vendors selling their wares to the thousands of daily visitors. As you wander through the endless rows of booths, you will find everything from jewelry to sculptures to home-grown and -ground spices. Also popular are the local and cover bands that play the two stages located inside the festival's grounds. Each year, a food court is set up with a variety of dining options ranging from traditional fair food to more upscale options, and the Beer and Wine Garden donates all profits to charity. Fiesta Hermosa 1007 Hermosa Ave. Hermosa Beach, CA 90254 Telephone: 310-376-0951

Keywords: Memorial Day, Southern California, Events
Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | Memorial Day Events in Southern California