Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer. As such, it’s a weekend you’ll likely spend grill-side, or on the links, or at the ballpark, or wandering the streets of Over-the-Rhine in search of your next beer.
Still, many thousands of Cincinnati families—and more every year—choose to spend a bit of their Memorial Day weekend doing what Memorial Day was created for: honoring those who gave their lives in service to our country. To do that, they go to Spring Grove Cemetery, where there’s a weekend of free family events that promise to enrich your understanding and appreciation of this important day.
Here’s when you can join them:
The weekend begins at 5 p.m. with members of Cub Scout Pack 708 from Villa Hills placing more than 1,000 American flags on the graves of Civil War soldiers buried at the cemetery. It’s an impactful ceremony, and a colorful one. Then everyone will gather at the newly reconstructed Rose Garden gazebo at 7 p.m. for a patriotic themed concert courtesy of The Ohio Military Band. Make sure to bring your own picnic blankets and lawn chairs!
Throughout the weekend, Spring Grove’s picturesque Norman Chapel will be home to the Veterans Photo Tribute Display. The photos, shared by almost 350 veterans and their families, tell the story of those who served in conflicts throughout our country’s history. The display will be open 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., with Spring Grove docents available on Friday and Saturday to share the fascinating history of the chapel itself.
At 11 a.m. the public is invited to attend the a ceremony at Spring Grove’s Civil War section, where the American Legion Post 372 will hold a ceremony with music. Then at 1 p.m. (drumroll please) you can join Heaher Amos, Spring Grove docent, for a walking tour to learn all about the patriots and pioneers of Cincinnati. It’s exactly the fusion of local and national history your weekend needs.
We come to it at last, Memorial Day. And there’s something special in store if you spend it with Spring Grove. This year, children 12 and under can fill out their name for the chance to win a one-year membership to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. (Just think how many Fiona sightings that is!)
But back to the day itself. It gets off to a brilliant start at 11 a.m. with a reenactment extravaganza that includes historic customs, a keynote speaker, and a gorgeous display of flower petals being scattered over the graves of the union soldiers. Guests are invited to bring lawn chairs and arrive early. The event will take place in the Civil War historic section of Spring Grove.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, there will be a free concert featuring music from the Civil War period from an acclaimed Civil War musician. At 12:30 p.m. a renowned Lincoln historian will put on a presentation that will transport you and your family back to the momentous days of the 1860s. The final event of the day will be a walking tour with Spring Grove docent Mark Lager. The walk will furnish yet another opportunity to bring the past into present by showcasing the Civil War History of Spring Grove cemetery.
Spring Grove Cemetery is located at 4521 Spring Grove Avenue (45232).