By Crystal Hessong

Memorial Day is getting closer, and though this day marks the unofficial summer kickoff, it’s also a somber day to remember those who died serving their country. Around Houston, there will be ways to honor those who have passed and commemorate their sacrifices; while other events are more focused on starting summer fun. These top Memorial Day events are sure to bring meaning back to this holiday while also celebrating the freedom available only through the sacrifices of those from the armed services.

Dancin’ In The Streets… Motown & More Revue
Miller Outdoor Theatre
6000 Hermann Park Drive
Houston, TX 77030
(281) 373-3386

Date: May 25 to May 28, 2017 at 8:15 p.m.

Every Memorial Day weekend, Miller Outdoor Theater hosts a free, live show, Dancin’ in the Streets…Motown & More Revue. For many, it’s become an annual Memorial Day tradition to kick off the summer by getting down to some musical favorites. If you’re a fan of soul music, you have to attend this event. If you’d like tickets to the covered seating area, they are free, but they are given out on a first-come, first-served basis from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the day of the event. Leftover tickets are handed out an hour before the show starts, but even if you don’t get a ticket, bring a blanket for free, open seating on the hillside around the theater.

Honky Tonk Chili Challenge
201 South Elm St.
Tomball, TX 77375
(281) 222-4775

Date: May 27, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Honky Tonk Chili Challenge is a cookoff event that features hot competitors making bowls of red in addition to vibrant music and fun. Unlike some other chili cookoffs, this is a highly regulated CASI (Chili Appreciation Society International) sanctioned event. Country music and chili are natural partners for Texas, throughout the year, but even when the heat of summer rises, Texans never lose their taste for a bowl of red. If the summer means outdoor food and music festivals to you, this Chili Challenge is the perfect Memorial Day event for you to kick off summer.

Memorial Day In The Woodlands
Town Green Park
2099 Lake Robbins Drive
The Woodlands, TX 77380
(281) 210-3800

Date: May 28, 2017 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

After the somber ceremonies, you can still commemorate the day while starting off the fun of summer. Sunday afternoon, May 28, is when you should gather your family for music, food and fun. This event also includes fireworks at the end of the night. There will also be activities for your children and roving entertainers throughout the park to continue the fun. For more information on this celebration, check out the event’s website.

Related: 5 Ways to Give Back to Our Military Heroes on Memorial Day

Sugar Land Memorial Day Ceremony
Sugar Land Memorial Park
15300 University Blvd.
Sugar Land, TX 77479
(281) 275-2885

Date: May 29, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

A free event on Memorial Day in Sugar Land will be a way for the public to honor those who have served and died for their country. This day will include a flag ceremony, speeches from local veterans, educational activities, and patriotic music. It’s a great way to introduce the family to the true meaning of Memorial Day. For more information or to see photos from past ceremonies, check out the website for this event.

Related: How to Celebrate Memorial Day in Houston