The summer solstice won't arrive for another month (June 21), but we can mark the unofficial start of summer this Memorial Day weekend. The weather's certainly getting a jump-start, with sunny skies and highs in the low 90s expected Sunday and Monday.
Several entertainment options are listed below, but don't forget the reason Americans observe Memorial Day. Unlike Veterans Day (Nov. 11), which celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, Memorial Day is set aside to honor those who died in service to their country. A solemn day indeed.
The city's annual Memorial Day service, hosted by the Chattanooga Area Veterans Council, begins at 11 a.m. Monday at Chattanooga National Cemetery, 1200 Bailey Ave.
Parking will be provided at the National Guard Armory, 1801 S. Holtzclaw Ave., and Redemption to the Nations Church, 1908 Bailey Ave., parking lot A. Shuttles will be provided to and from the cemetery between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The only parking allowed in the cemetery will be vehicles with handicapped plates or placard.
Note the American flags on the graves when you arrive. More than 50,000 were to be placed on the graves on Saturday, a tradition begun by Boy Scouts of the Cherokee Area Council more than 100 years ago.
For more information, call 423-855-6590.
For the rest of your long holiday weekend, here are a few entertainment options around town.
* Art festivals: Howard Finster's Paradise Garden will be open in Summerville, Georgia, Sunday for the final day of Finster Fest, which celebrates self-taught and folk artists. The festival includes a record-breaking 68 artists, speakers, musicians, children's art activities, food vendors and the chance to tour Finster's famous folk art environment. Admission is $5, with free parking at the Walmart on Highway 27 just north of Paradise Gardens. A complimentary shuttle is provided. Handicapped parking is available on-site. http://paradisegardenfoundation.org.
Meanwhile in Blue Ridge, Georgia, you can find more than 150 artists exhibiting works on the final day of Arts in the Park in Downtown City Park, 420 W. Main St. Festival hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 for ages 12 and older. Food trucks will be on-site to purchase lunch or dinner. For more information: 706-632-2144.
* Car show: The Harrison Ruritan Club is sponsoring its 15th open car show, its biggest fundraiser of the year, Sunday at the Tennessee Riverpark, 4301 Amnicola Highway. Car owners can begin cruising in at 8 a.m. Registration fee is $25 at the gate. Judging will begin at noon. Admission is free to spectators; concessions will be sold on-site. The Ruritans will host a church service on-site at 11 a.m., open to anyone wishing to attend. http://harrisonruritanclub.webs.com.
* Classic movie: The Bobby Stone Film Series at the Tivoli Theatre continues Sunday with screenings of "The Princess Bride" at 2 and 6 p.m. Rob Reiner's 1987 romantic fantasy comedy is the story of farmhand Westley rescuing his true love, Princess Buttercup, from the odious Prince Humperdinck. Tickets are $12 adults, $10 children and senior adults. 423-757-5580.
* Comedy: Comedian Will Jacobs, fresh off winning Kenan Thompson's Ultimate Comedy Experience, ends his run at The Comedy Catch, 1400 Market St., with a show at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. The Charlotte-based comedian is an attorney by trade, but his comedic perspective has made him one of the hottest acts on the circuit. Tickets are $11. 423-629-2233.
* Dinosaur exhibit: New for the summer at Creative Discovery Museum, 321 Chestnut St., is "Dinosaur Train: The Traveling Exhibit," based on The Jim Henson Co.'s popular PBS Kids TV series. It features a curious tyrannosaurus named Buddy, who travels the world to discover everything there is to know about dinosaurs. This new exhibit will transport kids back to the time of dinosaurs and encourage basic scientific learning through fun, hands-on activities. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Admission is $14.95 for ages 2 and up, with discounts for military families with ID. www.cdmfun.org.
* Gun show: Vendors will display guns, hunting supplies, military surplus and outdoor gear at this RK Shows expo at Camp Jordan Arena, 323 Camp Jordan Parkway in East Ridge. General admission is $10 for ages 13 and up, $4 children 6-12; VIP tickets are $12.50 and $6.50. www.rkshows.com.
* History talk: President Lincoln termed the physiological battlefield of the mind as "the last full measure of devotion." Meet at the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center, 3370 LaFayette Road, at 2 p.m. Sunday for "They Also Gave the Last Full Measure," a free, one-hour program on what that meant for soldiers, civilians and slaves during and after the Civil War. Bring a bottle of water and a folding chair. 706-866-9241.
* Imax movie: The Tennessee Aquarium's Imax Theater has opened a new film, "Great Barrier Reef 3D," examining the natural wonder that stretches for more than 1,600 miles off Australia's northeast coast. You can also catch "Pandas 3D." Tickets are $11.95 adults, $9.95 children. Schedules at www.tnaqua.org.
* Lookouts baseball: The Chattanooga Lookouts conclude a five-game home stand against the Birmingham Barons with a game at 6:15 p.m. Sunday at AT&T Field, 201 Power Alley. It's Military Appreciation Night, so all veterans and active military and their families receive a free general-admission ticket to the game (show military ID at the gate). After the game, kids get a chance to run the bases before a fireworks finale. Tickets are $7-$10. 423-267-4849, www.lookouts.com.
* Music: Memorial Day weekend means Rock City, 1400 Patten Road, Lookout Mountain, Georgia, revives Summer Music Weekends. Four acts take the stage various days, including "The Old Time Traveler" Matt Downer Sunday and Highbeams Sunday and Monday. Concerts are free with park admission: $12.95 to $21.95. www.seerockcity.com.
* Train rides: The Missionary Ridge Local, a 6-mile, 55-minute ride through East Chattanooga to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum's repair shop, departs from Grand Junction Station, 4119 Cromwell Road, at 10:40 a.m., 12:05, 1:15, 2:25 and 3:35 p.m. Sunday. 423-894-8028, www.tvrail.com.
* Water park: The dry side of Lake Winnepesaukah, 1730 Lakeview Drive, has been open a few weeks already, and now it's warm enough to open SoakYa. The 5-acre water park includes the addition of the Winnie 500, on which guests slide head-first into splashdowns. Lake Winnie rides will be open noon-8 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday. SoakYa is open 1-6 p.m. Sunday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday. Admission, which covers both parks, is $34.95 plus tax ages 3 and older, $24.95 plus tax for ages 1 and 2 and senior adults 60 and older. www.lakewinnie.com, 1-877-LAKEWIN.