Memorial Day Weekend 2011 Fun In and Around Atlanta – 365Atlanta’s Top Five Picks PLUS a Special Bonus for Food Truck Fanatics!

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Roswell Vietnam War Monument in Downtown Roswell, Georgia

Memorial Day Weekend…it always feels like the first official weekend of summer (even though summer technically doesn’t begin until June 21): School is out, graduation is over, and everyone heads for the beach. If you’re not one of those braving the highways (and the early Friday rush hour) and you’re staying in and around Atlanta this weekend, here’s our top 5 picks for your Memorial Day Weekend Festivities!

1. Roswell Remembers: Memorial Day in Downtown RoswellFirst and foremost… Lest we forget the real reason we get this 3-day weekend, Roswell Remembers provides us with a way to honor those who have served and perished for our country. The largest Memorial Day Ceremony in Georgia (last year saw over 7,000 attendees), Roswell Remembers is “a non-political, non-commercial ceremony honoring veterans and the sacrifices they made in protecting our freedom.” Taking place at Roswell City Hall (between the back of City Hall and the Vietnam War Memorialon Monday, May 30, 2011, beginning at 10:00 AM, the program includes the Atlanta Wind Symphony & Chattahoochee Celtic Pipes and Drums and an official program with the 2011 Featured Speaker Donna C. Rowe, US Army Nurse Corps 1964-1969, culminating in a 21-gun salute and taps by a lone bugler, followed by an afternoon of music with a concert on the lawn and delicious eats from food tents. For directions, parking and more information, please visit the Roswell Remembers website. (Remember to leave your pets at home-the crowds and 21-gun salute make this a non-pet-friendly event.)

2. Stone Mountain Park Memorial Day Weekend CelebrationSpend your summer at The Rock! Nope, we don’t mean Alcatraz…we mean that big, giant granite deposit that we call Stone Mountain. This weekend, Stone Mountain Park is honoring our troops with special discounts and pricing for military and their families- admission is FREE this weekend for Active Duty and Veterans (with appropriate ID). Billed as the largest Memorial Day Weekend celebration, Stone Mountain Park promises fun for the whole family. Debuting a brand new lasershow on a screen that is taller than the Statue of Liberty and more than five times larger than an IMAX screen, the special patriotic show will make your heart soar.

3. Atlanta Jazz FestivalGet your groove on at Piedmont Park this weekend as the 2011 Atlanta Jazz Festival presents three days of the smooth, sultry and sophisticated. Saturday, May 28, 2011 through Monday, May 30, 2011, Piedmont Park will strike a chord with music lovers with one of the country’s largest FREE jazz festivals. Bring your blanket, your picnic basket and your appetite for entertainment and spend the holiday weekend in one of Atlanta’s most beautiful parks. For a full schedule of the 25+ events, visit the Atlanta Jazz Festival website. (Remember, no pets are allowed in the festival area.)

4. 23rd Annual Decatur Arts Festival – Decatur will be all a-buzz this weekend for what has become the largest arts event in Decatur! The Decatur Arts Festival Artists’ Market, which features more than160 artists, is Saturday and Sunday, May 28-29, 2011, the culmination of the month-long festival,which actually runs until Sunday, June 5, 2011. All of the events are free and open to the public – what a great way to spend a day this weekend, with a leisurely stroll through the Artists’ Market followed by lunch or dinner at one of Decatur’s fantastic eateries. My dining suggestions: Leon’s Full Service or Brickstore Pub! The Market is open Saturday from 10:00 AM until 6:00 PM and Sunday from 11:00 AM until 6:00 PM. It’s a beautiful weekend for art in Decatur. PLUS: there’s the added bonus that the Decatur Arts Festival is a stop on The Great Food Truck Race – see BONUS PICK below!

5. Callaway Gardens Memorial Day Weekend FestivalJust a hop, skip and a jump (well, more like an hour and a half drive) from Atlanta, Callaway Gardens is the perfect getaway – you can go for the day or the entire weekend! With plenty of family-friendly activities, as well as romantic-getaway-for-two or just great weekend-with-friends options, the Memorial Day Weekend Festival calendar is chock full of fun, from a beach cookout to a low country boil to barbecue, and live music like zydeco, bluegrass and rock to live water ski shows, you can pack in a full weekend or just chill out away from the city. The celebrations last from Friday, May 27, 2011 through Monday,May 30, 2011. Get out of the city without getting stressed out!

BONUS! The Great Food Truck Race Visits Atlanta This Weekend! – If you’re a fan of The Great Food Truck Race on The Food Network, then you will want to keep an eye out this weekend for the locations of the season 2 trucks who have made it this far in the competition (some of the teams have already been eliminated, but that means the best remaining ones are here!)! 365Atlanta has confirmation of three of the locations for the weekend: the Hodge Podge Food Truck out of Cleveland will be parked at the center of Atlantic Station on Saturday,May 28,2011 from 12:00 noon until 9:00 PM, and then will be in Virginia Highland at 841 N. Highland Avenue on Sunday, May 29, 2011 from 12:00 noon until 9:00 PM. Also, Roxy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese will be at the Decatur Arts Festival (see #4 above!on Saturday,May 29, 2011 from 12:00 noon until 9:00 PM. If you’re not familiar with the way the show works, it’s a food truck contest – the truck that makes the most money in sales advances to the next city. Follow @365Atlanta on twitter this weekend for more updates on the locations of more trucks – we’ll be tweeting out all the info we can find so you can get your food truck fix! The show debuts August 14, 2011 – who knows! You may see yourself on TV if you head out to chow down this weekend!

Photo credit: Roswell Remembers

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