Memorial Day Events in the Historic Triangle is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.

The War Memorial in York County honors soldiers who have died over the centuries (Photo courtesy of York County)
The War Memorial in York County honors soldiers who have died over the centuries (Photo courtesy of York County)

In honor of Memorial Day, localities in the Historic Triangle, as well as local organizations and businesses, are offering myriad ceremonies and activities.

Programs to honor the fallen include a look back at the soldiers of the Civil War, performances by the Fife and Drum and an 8K race through the streets of Yorktown.


Colonial National Historical Park and York County are partnering to commemorate Yorktown’s Civil War history throughout the weekend, with events that include demonstrations, re-enactments and a ceremony.

On Saturday and Sunday, Union and Confederate troops will be stationed at the Yorktown Battlefield Visitor Center to demonstrate military tactics and skills on the battlefield. Visit their encampments at the visitor center, then stop by the Nelson House for a taste of what a Confederate hospital would have looked like. The weekend’s activities will start at 10 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. each day.

Yorktown Battlefield’s Civil War exhibit “On Historic Ground” will be open to the public in the Yorktown National Cemetery Lodge on Saturday and Sunday. The exhibit highlights Yorktown military and civilian Civil War stories, including the establishment of an African American community and the Yorktown National Cemetery.

A wreath-laying ceremony honoring fallen soldiers will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Yorktown National Cemetery and the adjacent Confederate Cemetery. The public is invited to place fresh flowers on soldiers’ graves.

See a full list of the Civil War Yorktown events here. 

On Monday, The Fifes and Drums of Yorktown will perform in front of York Hall for 30 minutes starting at 11:45 a.m. The group will also perform at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday in front of the Nelson House to celebrate the group’s 40th anniversary. The Fifes and Drums of Yorktown started in 1975 with an eye on performing in the Bicentennial Celebration in 1976.

After the group’s performance, a Memorial Day ceremony will be held at York Hall at noon. The ceremony will include the posting of colors, historical re-enactors and a guest speaker.

In keeping with the Memorial Day theme, the 2015 Yorktown Freedom Run is set for 8 a.m. Monday. This year’s Freedom Run is an 8K race through the historic area. The course starts and ends at York High School. Runners will navigate down Surrender Road and around undisturbed redoubts, George Washington and French headquarters, the French cemetery and vintage cannons.

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg is offering free admission Memorial Day weekend to those with ties to the military.

Active duty military, reservists, retirees, veterans and their families can take advantage of free passes to Colonial Williamsburg from Friday to Monday.

The “Honoring Service to America” passes can be obtained with proper military identification. Military veterans who separated before retirement can bring a copy of their honorable discharge paperwork, DD Form 214, as identification.

The free tickets are available at Colonial Williamsburg on-site ticket sales locations, including the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center, the Lumber House, and William Pitt Store Ticket Offices in the Revolutionary City and the ticket window in Merchants Square.

At 10 a.m. Monday, Colonial Williamsburg will hold a ceremony to honor the military veterans who died while serving their country. The Memorial Day Commemorative Program, which is free and open to the public, will include a procession by the Williamsburg fife and drum core from the Palace to Bruton Parish Church and the French gravesite. Volleys will be fired at each stop to honor the soldiers from American Revolution and Civil war interred nearby.

Williamsburg Memorial Park

A ceremony honoring fallen military veterans will also be held at 10 a.m. Monday at Williamsburg Memorial Park, located at 130 King William Drive. Last year, more than 500 people attended the ceremony, which is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and parking is free. Click here or call 565-2006 for more information.

Other Memorial Day Happenings 

CrossFit athletes around the country will be raising money for the Lt. Michael Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation on Memorial Day, and New Town’s CrossFit 1607 is participating. Athletes can sign up individually in teams to take part in the Murph Challenge, a Workout of the Day (WOD) consisting of running, pull-ups, push-ups and squats, all while wearing a 20-pound vest or body armor.

Paul’s Deli will be providing a beer garden, food vendors and clothing vendors such as Lululemon and Reebok will be on scene, as well as Ring Dog Rescue with adoptable dogs. CrossFit 1607 will also be raffling off prizes, including coffee from The Coffeehouse and meals from Paleo to Go. All proceeds raised during the event will go to the scholarship foundation started in 2007 for Murphy, a U.S. Navy SEAL from New York who died in 2005.Registration for the event begins at 9 a.m. at CrossFit 1607, located at 4325 New Town Ave.

Classic Cruisers Car Club will host its 9th annual Memorial Day car show Monday, with all proceeds going to Gathering of Mountain Eagles, an organization that provides opportunities to wounded or injured military service members and their families. The car show will be held at Shorty’s Diner at 627 Merrimac Trail. All makes, models and years of vehicles are welcome, and a registration is $10 to enter. Registration opens at 9 a.m. and closes at noon, with participant judging beginning at noon and the awards presentation occurring at 3 p.m. The car show will feature goody bags, music, a raffle and food.

Grace Episcopal Church will also hold a ceremony honoring veterans on Monday beginning at 10 a.m. After brief remarks, prayers and the playing of “Taps,” the flags of 80 known veterans from the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World Wars One and Two, the war in Korea, the Cold War and the Vietnam War will be replaced with “Honors” Military. The event is free and open to the public.

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