File Photo. Festivities at last year's Memorial Day celebration in Suwanee included live music, food and children's activities.
SUWANEE -- Memorial Day weekend officially begins with a musical tribute by the U.S. Army Ground Forces Band on Friday night, as the Gwinnett Daily Post hosts the Suwanee Memorial Weekend concert at Town Center Park.
The free concert will also feature paratroopers and a hands-on display of an Army Black Hawk helicopter.
"We thought it was a good way for folks to kick off their Memorial Day weekend," said Daily Post Publisher J.K. Murphy. "We wanted to host military bands and being as Memorial Day makes for a long weekend, some people might go out of town or go boating or what have you, and we thought we'd get an early start on it."
Friday's concert will mark the seventh year the Daily Post has presented the concert, but the first year the U.S. Army Ground Forces Band, a prestigious group of 64 of the Army's finest musicians, will be the featured guest.
Based at Atlanta's Fort McPherson, the band was formed in 1845.
The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Poor weather has canceled the landing of the parachute exhibition team Silver Wings the past two years, but they hope to drop in around 7:45 p.m.
"Right now the weather forecast looks pretty good and we're expecting them to be able to land," Murphy said.
Another new addition to this year's show will be a Black Hawk helicopter on display for concert-goers to get a close up look.
In lieu of admission, attendees are asked to bring canned good donations for the North Gwinnett Food Co-op, which will be accepted at the City of Suwanee tent.
Blankets, chairs and picnic baskets are welcome, but alcohol will not be permitted.
"The great thing about it is that it just kind of sets the tone for the weekend," Suwanee spokeswoman Lynne DeWilde said.
"In our hustle-bustle world, even though we have troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, if you don't have family members or friends in the military, it's easy to forget the reason for this whole weekend."