The official first day of summer isn’t for several more weeks, but this weekend feels like the kickoff to the season. You can get outside in the sun to honor the troops, ride some roller coasters, hear world-famous musical acts and see dazzling fireworks. Check out our list of the best events this weekend and our picks for the best nightlife. Here are some highlights to get you started:
On Sunday evening, make your way to the Capitol’s West Lawn for a concert featuring leading bluesman B.B. King, gospel singer Yolanda Adams, the National Symphony Orchestra and “American Idol” winner Kris Allen, among others. Then on Monday at 2 p.m., remember those soldiers who lost their lives by attending a procession of veterans down Constitution Avenue. The annual parade features a tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, a salute to the centennial anniversary of the U.S. Naval Aviation program (the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard) and an appearance by Miss America 2011, Teresa Scanlan.Sunset at Mount Vernon
Take advantage of this rare opportunity to spend an evening at Mount Vernon after the daytime rush has ebbed. Tour the mansion and the lantern-lighted grounds or take a wagon ride. Then head inside and enjoy wine and dessert along with 18th-century music, dancing and games.2011 Summer Blast Off!
“The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band kicks off Wolf Trap’s summer season with a program of band favorites, including Leonard Bernstein’s overture to “Candide” and works by Tchaikovsky. Snag a spot on the grass after the concert for optimal viewing of a festive fireworks display about 9:45.Memorial Day Jazz Festival
This outdoor jazz festival showcases the Tom Cunningham Orchestra, the Bruce Swaim Quartet, the Lovejoy Group, Al Williams and the Village Jazz Band for a full day of nonstop music. Each group plays a different style of jazz, from Latin to Dixieland to big band to contemporary. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.Viva! Vienna!
Amusement park rides, food vendors, live music and a children’s entertainment stage with magicians and banjo music make Vienna’s annual festival a perfect way to start the summer with the whole family.Memorial Day Chili Cook-Off
Local chefs face off to see who has the best chili in town at this annual Bar Pilar and Cafe Saint-Ex hosted Memorial Day event. Food specials, chili tastings, live music and kids activities are all a part of the festivities, which benefit nearby Garrison Elementary.Rockville’s Hometown Holidays
Concerts, crafts and a street fair make up Rockville's annual festival weekend leading up to the city's Memorial Day observance and parade. Taj Mahal will play a free show on Sunday.