When it comes to remembering and celebrating our veterans who died in active service to this country, Connecticut really knows how to do it. Parades march proudly down small town roads and busy, bustling city streets. Making the day truly memorable seems to be a Connecticut tradition as many communities opt for a wide variety of celebrations. From parades to parties, races to food events and from the simple to the sublime, there’s a lot to do on this most memorable day in Connecticut.
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Lime Rock Season Opener Featuring Trans-Am
Lime Rock Park
60 White Hollow Road
Lakeville, CT 06039
Date: May 24-26, 2013
Anyone looking for an action-packed Memorial Day weekend needs to head out to Lime Rock Park in Lakeville. That’s when the park kicks off the Memorial Day Trans-Am Race along with other support races. Rick Roso, spokesperson for the park, said that Memorial Day opens the season. “The Trans-Am Race features cars such as Corvettes, Mustangs and Carmaros and is really exciting,” he said. He also said that the featured fast car event draws visitors to “Spectator Hill,” a grassy area under the trees, where people place folding chairs or blankets so they can see half of the entire race. Another favored event is the Vintage Race. “This is where cars dating back as far as 1915 through the 1950s race each other. These cars include the likes of Mercedes Bens, Testa Rossa Ferraris and Alpha Romeos.” Old timers as well as youngsters really enjoy this one. No one gets bored, since there’s also music, food and drink. Best of all, veterans and members of their immediate families enter free of charge in honor of Memorial Day.
Mystic Seaport – Lobster Days
75 Greenmanville Ave.
Mystic, CT 06355
Dates: May 25-27, 2013
On Memorial Day 2013 from May 25-27, lobster lovers will drool over the Rotary Club’s fundraiser, Lobster Days. Dan McFadden, spokesperson for Mystic Seaport, said that more than 6,000 people will come through the gates for this annual event. “The Rotary Club members get several thousand lobsters and steam them on the waterfront. It’s quite an event. They do this from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Of course, this is the weekend when our season officially opens,” said McFadden. “This means visitors can tour the ships, rent a row boat or sail boat and even take a cruise down the river. There’s a lot to do. While we have a lot of people visiting Mystic Seaport every day, Memorial Day is the busiest day of the year for us.”
Oxford Memorial Day Freedom Run/Walk
486 Oxford Road
Oxford, CT 06478
(203) 888-2543 ext. 3041
Date: May 27, 2013
According to recreation director Debbie Gatto, Oxford’s 5th Annual Memorial Day 5K Freedom Run/Walk is a great event for the whole family. “We have prizes awarded for the different age categories and for male and female. We also have a two-mile course marked off for walkers. Wheelchairs and baby joggers are welcome,” said the enthusiastic director. Along with the race, there’s plenty of fun. The American Legion Color Guard starts things off and distributes dog tags with the date and event for the children who participate in the half-mile Rock Hopper race. “It’s all about family fun,” stressed Gatto, who added that the event keeps growing every year.
It just wouldn’t be Memorial Day if there wasn’t a parade. Parades are scheduled all over Connecticut on this Memorial Day weekend. One of the biggest parades is in Torrington. Parade Marshall Bob Hunter said that a few thousand people participate in the parade. “This is one of few parades that has protocol,” he said, referring to the fact that service men and women are at the front of the parade in the first division. The parade usually lasts for an hour and the route is a little longer than two miles. It starts and finishes at Coe Memorial Park. There are marching bands and floats. “Every year we pick a theme,” he said. “This year the theme is ‘Our Flag Stands for Freedom.’ After the parade, we have a ceremony honoring the fallen from Torrington in the past year. Then, because I play guitar and sing, I perform the song ‘Arlington.’” Bob Hunter is a veteran and has done such a great job with this event that he has been doing so for the past five years. There are seven divisions in this annual parade.
The Greenwich Town Party
Roger Sherman Baldwin Park
100 Arch St.
Greenwich, CT 06830
Date: May 25, 2013
There are parties and then there is the Greenwich Town Party, which is a community celebration for all who live and work in Greenwich. On May 25, this Memorial Day event will not likely be forgotten since it is non-stop fun from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Considering that singer/songwriter and five-time Grammy Award winner James Taylor will be the star performer at this event, it’s not likely anyone in Greenwich is going to pass up this opportunity. Local bands, a food fest and a BBQ grill-off are also slated for the day-long event. No wonder this is a sellout event.
Joanne Greco Rochman is the arts editor of The Fairfield County Review, a columnist, critic, feature story writer and English professor. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Republican-American and Hersam-Acorn Publications. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.