Memorial Day Weekend is long-awaited and much anticipated as it marks the official start of summer at the Jersey Shore. Our beach towns welcome another season of visitors and look forward to long and lazy days spent on the beach. The long weekend is always chock full of festivities to celebrate the holiday like concerts, fireworks, parades and so much more. Plans for night and day can be made easily with this list of events. The weekend is sure to offer something for everyone to enjoy whether you are a year-round local or a weekend visitor.

Get a jumpstart on the weekend on Thursday, May 23, with the Summer 2019 Cocktail Kickoff Party beginning at 6 p.m. at Leggett’s Sand Bar, 217 First Ave., Manasquan. For $20 those in attendance can enjoy one drink and a buffet. The night will include a 50/50 raffle, free drawings with a ticket for six Manasquan Beach Badges and two Manasquan Parking Passes. Tickets can be purchased at Manasquan Lighting, Jaspan Hardware, Dietrich Opticians or from any tourism member.

Proving Ground, 56 Shrewsbury Ave., Highlands, will also kick off Memorial Day Weekend on Thursday, May 23, with Owen’s Heavy and Mellow Acoustic from 5:30 to 9 p.m. On Friday, May 24 from 6 to 10 p.m., enjoy music by The Haven. On Saturday, May 25, Jamie Brown will perform from 1 to 4 p.m. and then Big Hix from 6 to 10 p.m.  On Sunday, May 26, Jukebox Heroes will perform from 1 to 4 p.m. followed by Moroccan Sheepherders from 5 to 9 p.m. On Monday, May 27, conclude the weekend with The Verdict from 5 to 9 p.m.

Start off the weekend bright and early on Friday, May 24, as Z100 and Pepsi are kicking off your summer at Jenkinson’s with the Jump Start to Summer. It’s been a long winter and Jenkinson’s, 300 Ocean Ave., Point Pleasant Beach, is ready to Jump Start summer with Z100 and Pepsi. The live broadcast will start at 6 a.m. with Elvis Duran and performances by Walk the Moon, Mabel, Lizzo and Fletcher.

Another Friday celebration will take place on the Seaside Heights Boardwalk as WJRZ fm 100.1, Jersey’s Greatest Hits radio station, presents Taylor Dayne and the Kickoff to Summer. Beginning at 2 p.m. on the boardwalk in front of Spicy Cantina, 500 Boardwalk, Seaside Heights, the radio station will kick off the Memorial Day Weekend with a live broadcast followed by a free show by American Pop Icon Taylor Dayne starting at 6 p.m.

Martell’s Tiki Bar, 308 Boardwalk, Point Pleasant Beach, presents Memorial Day Weekend with tons of live bands and plenty of fun on the beach. On Friday, May 24, the Mike Dalton Band will jumpstart the day at 10 a.m. followed by JoBonanno & The Godsons at 2 p.m. and Big Bang Baby at 9 p.m. On Saturday, May 25, Dr. Cheeko will perform at 12:30 p.m. and Route 80’s will perform at 9 p.m. Sunday, May 26, will showcase The Counterfeiters at 1 p.m. and Coast 2 Coast at 9 p.m. On Monday, May 27, Legacy will perform at 1 p.m.

Bradley Beach Memorial Day Festival will take place all weekend long on Ocean Avenue. This free celebration will be held from Saturday, May 25, through Monday, May 27, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day. Those in attendance can look forward to six bands and an emcee and DJ playing requests, over 180 craft and specialty vendors, 25 food vendors with something for everyone, a great oceanfront location and children’s activities including a waterslide, rides, face painters and sand art. On Saturday morning the Memorial Day Parade will step off at 10 a.m.  

Saturday, May 25, will kick off at 10 a.m. as the Annual Point Pleasant Beach Memorial Day Bike Parade will be celebrating its 18th year. Trekking down Arnold Avenue will be bicycles, fire trucks, veterans’ groups, Scout troops, bands and more, all celebrating those who have fought for our country.

Across the Inlet, the Manasquan Tourism Commission and co-sponsor Leggett’s will kick off the summer season with a Memorial Day Celebration. A concert by Deep Six will take place on Saturday, May 25, on the Main Beach at 7:30 p.m. Memorial Day Fireworks will light up the sky up and down the beach beginning at 9 p.m. at the conclusion of the concert.

Also on May 25, cheer on the runners during the Spring Lake Five run starting at 8:30 a.m. Kids’ Races will kick off the night before on Friday, May 24, at 6 p.m. Registration ends Thursday, May 23, at 6 p.m. Make sure to shop local on Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26, as Spring Lake shops will be dishing out bargains during the Race Day Sidewalk Sale.

Another Saturday, May 25, event is the Highlands, NJ Memorial Day Parade sponsored by TwinLights Post 143. Those who take part are marching to honor and commemorate the American spirit and the sacrifices of the men and women who serve our country through military service. The parade will step off at 11 a.m. at Huddy Park and proceed down Bay Avenue to Veterans Park where there will be a remembrance ceremony following the parade.

The Highlands Business Partnership will host the 19th Annual Highlands Craft Show on Sunday, May 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Huddy Park on Waterwitch and Bay Avenues. Admission is free and those in attendance can experience a delightful collection of various handmade crafts by up to 50 crafters and artisans.

Long Branch’s 21st Annual Art in the Park will also take place on Sunday, May 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the West End Park on Brighton Avenue. The event is free and open to the public and those in attendance can enjoy the work of over 50 juried artists and artisans. The rain date is Monday, May 27. Don’t forget to check out all the great restaurants and shops Long Branch has to offer.

Join Ship Bottom on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27 at 1 p.m., for a Memorial Day Service. The service will be held on the front lawn of the Borough Hall at 16th and Long Beach Boulevard in Ship Bottom to honor our veterans.

The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Day Ceremony will also take place on Memorial Day at 11 a.m. at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, 1 Memorial Lane, Holmdel. The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation invites all to attend the annual ceremony. The Vietnam Era Museum will remain open until 2 p.m. following the ceremony.