WATERLOO — The first Memorial Day, set aside to honor those who died in the Civil War, was conducted here in May 1866.
The 153rd annual Memorial Day in the official Birthplace of Memorial Day will be Friday, May 24, thru Monday, May 27.
The weekend observance begins Friday with the opening of the National Memorial Day Museum at 35 E. Main St. from noon to 5 p.m. and the awarding of the 2019 Henry C. Welles Award for community service to Lee Henry from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Waterloo Library & Historical Society, 31 E. William St.
The American Civil War Memorial at Locust and Washington Streets will have its illumination and remembrances of the Waterloo men who died in the Civil War at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The focus shifts on Saturday and Sunday to LaFayette Park and Oak Island. The “Living History’’ portion of the weekend will include the presence of President Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by Fritz Klein; Frederick Douglass, portrayed by Michael Crutcher; Harriet Tubman, portrayed by Carolyn Evans; and Dr. Mary Walker, portrayed by Marilyn Dirk.
At the Civil War encampment on Oak Island Saturday, there will be a live cannon firing demonstration, U.S. Engineers during the Civil War, President Lincoln reviewing the troops, a press conference with Lincoln, Douglass and Tubman, moderated by Seneca County Historian Walt Gable, cannon night fire by the Reynolds Battery Camp, and songs by Rebecca Colleen and the Chore Lads at 7:30 p.m. in Pavilion 1 at Oak Island.
Sunday’s Living History activities at Oak Island include troop encampments, a Civil War church service at the American Civil War Memorial on Locust Street, appearances by Lincoln, Douglass, Walker, Mark Twain cook Mary Ann Cord, and Chaplin Ferris Scott, portrayed by Marty Hillman.
There also will be live cannon demonstrations and a youth gun drill.
At LaFayette Park, there will be food tents and demonstrations, vendors and live entertainment all day Saturday and Sunday. The Memorial Day parade will be 11 a.m. Saturday on Main Street. Musical entertainment will be by the Hit Men Brass Band, Merry Mischief Music, Lock 52, Diane Jacobs Band, Loose Change Band, Agonal Rhythm, Rebecca Colleen & the Chore Lads, CC & the Roadrunners, Sons of a Beach, Covers Exposed and Rock-it Science.
There also will be a Kids Korner schedule of activities on William Street Saturday and Sunday.
Special events will be the annual 5K “Tribute to the Fallen” road race at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Waterloo High School, Finger Lakes Water Adventure boat tours at Oak Island, a canned food donation for area food pantries, open house at the M’Clintock House, narrated horse-drawn wagon tours of historic village sites, a pizza eating contest, fireworks at 9:30 p.m. at Oak Island.
On Sunday, the annual antique and classic car show will be held on Main Street downtown at 10 a.m., featuring antique “woodie” vehicles made in Waterloo and an ice cream eating contest for children 12 and under.
Monday will include the Memorial Day veterans motorcycle rally registration at 8 a.m., followed by the rally itself from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the Memorial Day Museum opening from noon to 5 p.m.