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In Greenport, the Field of Honor project will fill Mitchell Park with flags honoring veterans as well as teachers, first responders, essential workers and more. (Photo Credit: Sara Austin)

Everyone loves a parade on Memorial Day Weekend. After a one-year, pandemic-induced hiatus, some will return in 2021. And there are plenty of other things to do Memorial Day weekend on Long Island, even if your town’s parade isn’t a go. From the return of another favorite Long Island MDW tradition to a chance to take in America’s pastime without leaving Suffolk County, these are the best ways to spend the long weekend.

Look up. The Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach is back.

The show is back on. In April, Governor Cuomo green-lit the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach, bringing it back after the pandemic forced its cancellation in 2020. The show, which runs Friday through Monday, will feature performers like the United States Air Force Thunder Birds, the United States Army Golden Nights and the NY Guard Military Vehicles. Admission is free, but parking is $10 per car. There are a few COVID catches: Capacity is limited to 50 percent, and each guest will get an arrival time. You can read up-to-date information on regulations here.  

Hear live chamber music in a historic North Fork space.

Rites of Spring Festival, which presents classical and contemporary music in unconventional spaces on the East End, is back live for its sixth season after going virtual in 2020. The opening concert will be held Saturday, May 29 at 6 p.m. at the Jamesport Meeting House, built by Puritan settlers in 1731. The program, inspired by the latin text O Magnum Mysterium, features Yezu Elizabeth Woo on violin and the festival’s artistic director, Paolo Bartolani, on piano performing selections by Jan Sibelius, Olivier Messiaen, Alfred Schnittke, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Isang Yun and Arvo Pärt. Learn more.

Have a different kind of beach day at the Mighty North Fork Triathlon.

If you’ve been staying in shape during the pandemic, first of all, good for you. Second, consider putting yourself to the test MDW in the Mighty North Fork Triathlon, which starts at Cedar Beach in Southold. The event is considered ideal for even first-time triathlon competitors — there’s a 500-meter swim in the calm Peconic Bay at Cedar Beach, a seven-mile bike and a 3.5-mile run through LI’s wine country. It’s an early wake-up call — the gun goes off at 6:50 a.m. on Sunday, May 30, but it gives you plenty of time to toast to your accomplishment for the rest of the day. More details here

Enjoy back-to-back-to-back blockbusters on the South Shore.

One of the silver linings of the pandemic? The return of drive-in theaters. The throwback experience is coming back the summer, and Gateway Theater’s lineup has more recognizable names than Water Mill’s annual Super Saturday. On Friday, treat yourself to a viewing of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Saturday’s flick is Jurassic Park, and Sunday’s is Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. All three shows start at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are required and available here

Get a history lesson at Old Bethpage.

At its core, Memorial Day Weekend is a chance to honor our history and those who died protecting our future. On Saturday through Monday, organizers will deck Old Bethpage Restoration’s halls like it’s 1870’s. Visitors can explore the building and grounds by taking a self-guided tour and learning about space’s place in history. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here

Take yourself out to the ballgame.

Baseball has returned to Long Island. After seeing their season canceled in 2020, the Ducks are playing ball once again. This Memorial Day Weekend, enjoy an activity as American as apple pie by heading out to Fairfield Properties Ball Park in Central Islip. The Ducks will play host to the Lexington Legends Friday and Saturday at 6:35 p.m. and Sunday and Monday at 1:35 p.m. Grab tickets here.

Embrace your inner child.

Grab your school-aged niece or just let your inner-child run, jump and swim free when Splish Splash re-opens for the first time since 2019 on Saturday, May 29. Social distancing and masks are required (you can get updated safety information here), but guests can still bathe in the gentle waters of the Kahuna Bay Wave Pool or free-fall down the drop slide at Shotgun Falls. You can buy tickets and passes, including a one-day dining pass, here.

Explore a secret garden on Shelter Island.

East End Memorial Day Weekends are traditionally raucous, but this may once again be a quieter year. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Ease back into life as you knew it by exploring a hidden gem on Shelter Island. The historical society is giving a 30-minute secret garden tour Saturday, May 29 from 2 to 6 p.m. (The rain date is Sunday, May 30). Walk through a one-acre garden near Coecles Harbor that boasts more than 5,000 plants, some ornamental, others native. It’s $30 per person. You can purchase tickets here

See a Gatsby-style property in a whole new light.

When we think of Sands Point Preserve, our minds often drift to Gatsby. And that’s understandable — the house that inspired the famous novel is on the property. But it’s also home to wildlife and natural beauty. Each month, biologist and ranger Eric Powers leads a popular outdoor adventure walk. This month’s falls on Saturday, May 29 and runs from 10-11:30 a.m. You’ll want to purchase tickets soon — the March and April walks sold out. Get them here.

Enjoy family fun at Harbes.

This North Fork farm is providing live music and plenty of open space to picnic in the courtyard on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Guests can also meet the farm animals and let their kids run free on a challenging obstacle course. Grown-ups can enjoy Harbes’ vineyard wines inside the century-old wine barn or sip and savor them outside. More details here

Long Island Memorial Day Parade Listings

Babylon Village

When: Monday, May 31, 11 a.m.

Where: The parade typically begins at the intersection of Foster Blvd. and Deer Park Ave., marches south on Deer Park Ave. to Montauk Highway and then heads west towards the Village Gazebo for a ceremony.


When: Monday, May 31, 10 a.m.

Where: Theparade begins at Frost Lane in Lawrence, heads down Central Ave. towards Cedarhurst and concludes with a short ceremony at Andrew J. Parise Cedarhurst Park. 


When: Monday, May 31, 1 p.m.

Where: The parade begins and ends at the intersection of Southard Ave. and Academy St. View the full route, which has been expanded for social distancing reasons, here.


When: Monday, May 31, 10:00 a.m. 

Where: The parade kicks off at Island Trees Middle School on Wantagh Avenue in Levittown. Parade goes along Hempstead Turnpike and ends near the library.


When: Monday, May 31, 10 a.m.

Where: The car parade starts in Parking Field #1 at the rear entrance of the Sgt. Peter F. Colleran VFW Post #7762 and concludes in the parking lot of American Legion Post #1066.

Port Washington

When: Monday, May 31, 10 a.m. 

Where: Begins on Campus Drive and proceeds along Main St. to the Sousa Band Shell 


When: Monday, May 31, 10 a.m.

Where: This ceremony-only event takes place at Merrick’s Veteran Memorial Park at the corner of Merrick Ave. and Lee Ave. 


When: Monday, May 31, 7:30 a.m.

Where: The parade kicks off at the Orient firehouse and heads down Tabor Road, Orchard Street, Navy Street, Village Lane and Route 25 before returning to the firehouse. 


When: Monday, May 31, 9 a.m.

Where: The parade will line up on Osborn Avenue and Pulaski Street. The route will run down to Main Street, stopping for a ceremony at the WWI Memorial.


When: Monday, May 31, 11 a.m.

Where: The paradebegins at the intersection of Boisseau Ave. and Route 25, heads west on Route 25 and ends at the American Legion Post.


When: Monday, May 31, 10 a.m.

Where: Theparade starts on Beltagh Ave. It proceeds to Park Ave. and ends at the local American Legion.