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How To Celebrate Memorial Day In The South Bay

(credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Dating back to the Civil War, Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday in May as a way to honor all fallen American soldiers. There are a variety of ways to remember our service men and women who gave up their lives for freedom. The South Bay holds commemorative events ranging from parades to battle reenactments. Here is a list of five of the best South Bay Memorial Day celebrations.

Roaring Camp Civil War Battles
Roaring Camp Railroads
5401 Graham Hill Rd.
Felton, CA 95018
(831) 335-4484

Date: May 24-26, 2014

This year marks Roaring Camp's 34th annual Civil War Reenactment. The whole family will enjoy the mayhem complete with everything from period-era costumes to musket fire and a charging calvary. Attendees also have the opportunity to view the more sedate activities of in-camp soldiers cleaning muskets and cooking. Get there early to hop into an open car on the train for the best views of the action, and don't forget to bring earplugs.

UVC Memorial Day Celebration
Oak Hill Memorial Park
300 Curtner Ave.
San Jose, CA 95125
(408) 297-2447

Date: May 26, 2014 at 11 a.m.

Each year, the United Veterans Council of Santa Clara County puts on a Memorial Day Celebration in Oak Hill Memorial Park. Flags are placed by local scouting troops at the headstones of fallen soldiers in each of six veterans' burial plots. The ceremony is open to the public and includes a rifle salute, posting of colors and Taps. Dating back to 1839, Oak Hill Memorial Park is one of California's oldest cemeteries, and contains the headstones of veterans from many American wars.

Gilroy Memorial Day Parade
Monterey St. between 1st and 7th St.
Gilroy, CA 95020

Date: May 26, 2014 at 11 a.m.

Gilroy has been conducting a family-friendly Memorial Day Parade for over 30 years. With a focus on honoring fallen veterans and fostering community spirit, the parade includes a variety of participants. Parade viewers will delight in watching everything from equestrian units and marching bands to war heroes and classic cars. Bring the whole family down to the Garlic Capital of the World to honor and celebrate the lost lives of American soldiers.

Felton Remembers Memorial Day Parade And Covered Bridge Festival
Hwy. 9 between Henry Cowell State Park and Graham Hill Rd.
Felton, CA 95018
(831) 335-1212

Date: May 24, 2014 at 10 a.m.

The Felton Remembers Memorial Day Parade and Covered Bridge Festival is an all day event that both honors lost veterans and celebrates the local community. The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., following the parade which starts at 10 a.m. The festival has fun for the kids with games and jump houses, as well as plenty of food and a beer garden for the adults. Spend the afternoon visiting the arts and crafts and local vendors' booths.

Memorial Day Celebration
Memorial Arch
Corner of Saratoga Ave. and Saratoga-Los Gatos Rd.
Saratoga, CA 95070
(408) 867-3428

Date: May 26, 2014 at 9:30 a.m.

The Saratoga Foothill Club has been holding a Memorial Day Celebration at the Madronia Cemetery since 1928. The celebration starts with a laying of wreaths and flag ceremony at the Memorial Arch in downtown Saratoga. Afterwards is a remembrance ceremony at the Madronia Cemetery, where local 4-H students and scouts will place flags at veterans' headstones. The celebration will also include live music and speakers.

Joanna Metheny is a freelance writer covering all things South Bay. Her work can be found on


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