Parade to Kick Off Festive Memorial Day Weekend

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Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer, and Myrtle Beach is the official home for summer fun. Put those two together, and you have a wonderful opening week of summer in the Grand Strand — one that starts with a parade, features lots of baseball, barbecue and beach fun, and closes with a bang marking the beginning of the summer-long fireworks shows on the Strand.

It all kicks off Saturday, May 28, with the annual Myrtle Beach Memorial Day Parade, which is the highlight of the monthlong Military Appreciation Days. All parades move, of course, but this one is also relocating from Ocean Boulevard in the downtown district to a more fitting setting at Market Common, the former home of Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. Located a short distance from Paradise Resort, the parade starts at 10:30 a.m. and rolls down Howard Avenue and Farrow Parkway. Featuring floats, marching bands, military vehicles and veterans, the parade is expected to attract thousands of flag-waving well-wishers watching and cheering from the sidewalks. When the parade ends, the Big Family Picnic begins, with military exhibits and live music scheduled from noon to 2 p.m. at Grand Park, where parade Grand Marshal Noah Galloway will speak and the Andrew Thielen Big Band will perform during the picnic. The picnic is free for military personnel, veterans and their families. For more information, visit www.militaryappreciationdays.com.

Visitors can also celebrate the ultimate American holiday with America's pastime as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans minor-league baseball team commemorates Memorial Day weekend in style. From May 27 to 30, the Class A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs will host a four-day home stand filled with special promotions and events. Each night, the Pelicans are hosting “Leave the BBQ to Us,” which will feature a traditional ballpark feast for an additional charge, and each game ends with “Kids Run the Bases,” where kids ages 12 and under are allowed to round the horn after the dust settles. Saturday is “Embrace Veterans Night,” featuring events honoring those who served, and Family Sunday includes an invitation for parents and children to take the field and play catch. For ticket information, visit www.myrtlebeachpelicans.com.

Paradise guests can also make the short drive to Surfside Beach for a traditional American celebration. This tiny beach community, located just south of the Myrtle Beach city limits, offers a Memorial Day weekend with a small-town feel. Surfside kicks things off bright and early Sunday morning with the annual Blessing of the Beach sunrise service beside the Surfside Pier, followed by the Memorial Day Cookout near the same spot from 4 to 8 p.m. Hot dogs, hamburgers and traditional picnic fare provide a festive environment for the whole family. On Monday at 2:30 p.m., the town's official Memorial Day Service will be held at Passive Park.

If your vacation stay extends beyond Memorial Day, you can witness the start of the summer series of free fireworks shows in the Myrtle Beach area. Broadway at the Beach kicks things off Tuesday, May 31, with an impressive pyrotechnics display over Lake Broadway at 10 p.m. The fireworks show moves to the beach on Wednesday night with the opening of the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk display from Second Avenue Pier. Visitors can stroll the 1.3-mile walkway and watch the skies light up over the ocean in a brilliant exhibition. The Pelicans host a postgame fireworks show on June 4, and Barefoot Landing begins its weekly Monday pyrotechnics over Barefoot Lake on Monday, June 6.

Paradise guests can also beat the crowds and spend a relaxing holiday weekend on the resort property. Offering luxury accommodations, warm hospitality, and a long list of amenities that include an oceanfront pool deck with indoor and outdoor water features, Paradise is a great place to spend your Memorial Day vacation and shift into summer mode.

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