10 great things to do around town this Memorial Day weekend

Photo of Everclear courtesy of Sacramento Music Festival

Summer is just around the corner. To get a jump-start on the sun-soaked season, we found 10 ways around town—from outdoor concerts to fireworks—to make this three-day Memorial Day weekend that much more memorable.

Sacramento County Fair
May 21-25
This annual Memorial Day weekend extravaganza offers five full days of exhibits, wildlife and festival fun. Watch acts like the Acrobats of Heibei China, hypnotist Steve Bayner and Fandango (a ZZ Top tribute band), take part in a corn-dog eating contest, or browse the livestock pavilion and agricultural displays like the Farm Garden in a Wheelbarrow. Junior fairgoers can play at a kids’ carnival with 15 child-friendly rides, visit the petting zoo or ride on a pony. $5. Thurs.-Sun. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Cal Expo. 1600 Exposition Blvd. 263-2975. sacfair.com

Friday Night Concerts in the Park
May 22
This yearly summer concert series at Cesar Chavez Plaza continues with an explosive evening this Friday featuring sets from rock group Frank Hannon Band, electronica outfit Alex Vincent Band, self-proclaimed “dance-motivated groove machine” The Pressure Lounge and a set by DJ Peeti-V. In between sets, concert-goers can nosh on food truck fare from the likes of Krush Burger, Azteca Street Tacos, La Posada and Annie’s SnowBiz, and the party doesn’t have to stop when the music fades—local hotspots like Blackbird, Harlow’s and the new arcade-bar Coin-Op will host post-concert drink specials for those 21 and older. Free for concert; cover charges for after-parties vary by location. 5-9 p.m. Cesar Chavez Plaza. 910 I Street. godowntownsac.com

Greek Food and Wine Festival
May 22-24
It’s all Greek to those who flock to St. Anna Greek Orthodox Church in Roseville for this festival celebrating Hellenic wine, dancing and cuisine. Feast on a smorgasbord of traditional Greek eats like pastitsio (a cheesy baked pasta dish), moussaka (a layered casserole with eggplant, meat sauce and cheese), kourabiethes (buttery shortbread cookies) and loukoumades (deep fried balls of dough dipped in honey). Plus, take part in the Mediterranean country’s folk dances and taste 12 Greek wines as well as microbrews and plenty of ouzo, the region’s signature apertif. Opa! $2. Fri. 5-10 p.m. Sat. & Sun. noon-10 p.m. St. Anna Greek Orthodox Church. 1001 Stone Canyon Dr. Roseville. 772-9372. festival.saintanna.org

Sacramento Music Festival
May 22-25
Originally launched in 1974 as the Old Sacramento Dixieland Jazz Jubilee, this four-day concert collective has expanded to incorporate music from across genres by way of this year’s headliners: the iconic R&B group Tower of Power, alternative band Everclear, reggae-punk influenced Eve 6, Grammy-nominated folk-rocker Shawn Mullins, up-and-coming country trio Gloriana and Latin-infused rock group Malo. Festival-goers can also groove to tunes from local bands like the popular jazz-pop fusion ensemble Mumbo Gumbo, jazz vocalist Beth Duncan, Americana band The Nickel Slots and funk-soul group Joy and Madness. Plus, get into the swing of things with traditional jazz and blues from area favorites Sister Swing, the Dixie Company, Vivian Lee and New Orleans blue squad Tom Rigney and Flambeau. $49-$300. Starts at 11 a.m. on Fri. & Sat. Starts at 10 a.m. on Sun. & Mon. Venues vary. 444-2004. sacmusicfest.com

First Festival
May 23
Highlighting music, food and fashion in the region, this inaugural festival—run by the owners of midtown retail shops Firefly and Moonrise Boutique—will allow attendees to stock up on local apparel and goods for their summer itineraries. Sacramento-based acts like A Mile Till Dawn, Thick Soup and Drop Dead Red will perform along with 15 other local groups, and folks can partake in eats from 10 different food trucks including Smokers Wild (try the St. Louis-style barbecued ribs) and Happy Cow Ice Cream (sporting 20 flavors of shakes). A VIP ticket gets you a festival starter kit with handmade goods like flower crowns, leather jewelry and a festival bandana, plus access to a VIP tent with prime views of the main stage and close proximity to the festival’s beer garden. Free. $50 for VIP ticket. Noon-10 p.m. West Sacramento River Walk Park. firstfestivalsacramento.com

International Kids Festival
May 23
It’s a small world after all at this children's international festival featuring cultural performances like Mexican folklorico from the Folklorico Cali Dance academy, Indian Bollywood from Bhashar’s Art Academy and African rhythm from Jodama African Dance. Would-be foodies can also try international dishes like Russian kabob and Uzbek plov (lamb and rice pilaf) prepared by chef Anatoly Komm from Teremok Grocery Store. The fest will also include train rides, pony rides, a magic show, rock climbing and a petting zoo. Free. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. William Land Park. 3800 Land Park Dr. 299-1777. russianamericanmedia.com

Sacramento River Cats
May 22-25
Take the family out to the ball game as the Sacramento River Cats has the home-field advantage during Memorial Day weekend. Kids (and parents) get to dress as their favorite fairy tale characters for Princess and Pirate Night on Saturday—a special ticket pack gets youngsters their choice of a sword, wand or tiara—and a meet-and-greet with princesses Anna and Elsa from Disney’s Frozen. Plus, stick around for the post-game fireworks show. (Friday night's game will also feature fireworks.) Bring the pooch on Sunday for Bark in the Ballpark, where pups can participate in a pre-game parade and watch youngsters steal home during the Kids Run the Bases after the ninth inning ends. Before the game on Monday, partake in tasty stadium eats at a Memorial Day BBQ buffet beginning at 11:30 a.m. and featuring barbecued tri-tip, hamburgers and hot dogs. $10-$66  (Ticket packs start at $33; Memorial Day barbecue $35-$39). Fri. & Sat. 7:05 p.m. Sun. & Mon. 1:05 p.m. Raley Field. 400 Ballpark Dr. West Sacramento. 346-4700. raleyfield.com

Reading of the Names Ceremony
May 24
Join the Sacramento Valley Charter of the Vietnam Veterans of America in Capitol Park as they read aloud the more than 5,000 names of Californians who were killed or missing in action during the '60s-era conflict; the names are etched in the bronze statues that comprise the park's California Vietnam Veterans Memorial. After this 16th annual ceremony, walk through the Civil War Memorial Grove, which was planted in 1897 using young trees taken from various battle sights, including a honey locust from Gettysburg, and stop for a moment of silence at The California Veterans Memorial, which pays tribute to the veterans of our Golden State who fought for our freedom in conflicts from the Mexican-American War to the Persian Gulf War. Free. 7 a.m.-noon. California State Capitol Park. 13th and L streets. 481-6020. parks.ca.gov

Wounded Veteran Run
May 25
Honor our country’s soldiers at this race benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project, Fregoso Outdoor Foundation (which funds outdoor activities for veterans), the Purple Heart Fund and the Veterans Memorial Park in El Dorado Hills. The Wounded Veteran Run was founded in 2010 by Courtney Hvostal, whose brother Ben was injured while on tour in Afghanistan. The Folsom Parkway Trails will host this year’s 3K, 5K and 10K runs, as well as the kids' fun run, with the races kicking off 8 a.m. following an opening ceremony that will include a color guard presentation, the singing of the national anthem and guest speakers. Participants are also encouraged to dedicate their run to a specific military member and post the soldier’s photo on the run’s website. $15-$35 in advance; $15-$45 on race day. Races begin at 8 a.m. Folsom Parkway Trails (behind the plaza at 25005 Blue Ravine Rd.). Folsom. woundedveteranrun.org

Vettes for Vets & American Muscle Car Show
May 25
View the rows upon rows of the cars that helped shape America’s auto culture at this sixth annual car show. More than 150 U.S.-made Corvettes and muscle cars—including a 2016 model Camaro—will be on display this Memorial Day at the California Automobile Museum, where retired and active military will receive free admission to the museum. Folks can vote for their favorite make in the age-old Mustang vs. Camaro battle, and other highlights will include a color guard presentation by the Marine Corps League's Sacramento Detachment No. 23 group, as well as photo-ops with the museum’s circa-1943 Army Jeep and in the cockpit of Huey, a military helicopter that was used for medical evacuations. Free. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. California Automobile Museum. 2200 Front Street (at the paved lot behind the museum). 442-6802. calautomuseum.org

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