While Memorial Day honors those who died in war, it also signals the start of summer. And this holiday's weather promises to oblige.
"It's going to be crowded," said Jim Turner, marine safety officer in Newport Beach, where two-thirds to three-quarters of the lifeguard towers will be open during the holiday. "It's never as heavy as it is on the Fourth of July, but it can be close to that. We expect large crowds."
Today and Sunday should be ideal for a barbecue or the beach, with temperatures in the high 60s on the coast and mid-80s inland, according to WeatherData, which provides forecasts for The Times. Some low clouds may hover in the mornings, but they should disappear early--perhaps even before late sleepers awaken.
Evenings will be comfortable, with temperatures in the low 60s on the coast and even cooler inland, according to WeatherData.
"It's not going to be any type of major heat wave or anything like that," said Dean Jones, a WeatherData meteorologist. "It's going to be a nice Memorial Day weekend for the most part for most of Southern California. Enjoy it."
The forecast for Monday is for cloudier and cooler weather, Jones said.
For those who favor organized fun, there is the 35th annual Strawberry Festival in Garden Grove, complete with a parade today, or the first-ever Spirit of Irvine festival, a two-day extravaganza filled with sports, art, food and wine.
Admission to the Strawberry Festival is free, which organizers predict will bring 200,000 people for celebrities, contests and a carnival.
Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, the Spirit of Irvine will include one-, five- and 10-kilometer races, softball, volleyball and tennis tournaments, a food, wine and art buffet, and music, storytelling and face-painting for children. Most events will be at Heritage Park.
On Monday, military veterans and elected officials will offer tributes to those who died in wars, and honor others for their community service.
At Anaheim Memorial Hospital, local firefighters and police officers, including those who died in the line of duty, will be the focus of the ceremony. In Cypress, Brig. Gen. George B. Vogel, chief chaplain of the Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Long Beach, and Mayor Gail H. Kerry, are expected to speak at the 29th annual Memorial Day ceremony at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.
Survivors of several World War II battles--including Aleutian Islands, Tarawa, Kasserine and Sicily--will be acknowledged at the Orange County Veterans Memorial in Santa Ana. At El Toro Memorial Park, retired Army Col. Aaron Bank, the "founding father" of the Green Berets, will be the featured speaker.
Memorial Day also brings public-safety headaches for some.
California Highway Patrol officials expect an increase in speeding and accidents on the holiday weekend.
"Typically, on a busy weekend, everybody's in a hurry, so that's one of the things that we'll be looking for," said Mike Lundquist of the Santa Ana CHP office. "It's important for people to understand that there are going to be a lot of people out there, so just take (your) time, have patience."
Capt. Mike Bair, commander of the Westminster-area CHP, encouraged people to buckle up, stay sober and drive with extra care during the holiday.
"The three-day Memorial Day weekend is the customary starting point for the summer driving period," Bair said. "And summer has traditionally been the most dangerous driving season of the year."