Sinatra. Classical music. The blues. The Celtic harp. Whatever your musical tastes may be, prepare to be entertained this holiday weekend.
A full lineup of live music events - including two area music festivals - are on deck this Memorial Day weekend and beyond. Some, like the 23rd annual Cape May Musical Festival, are well-known area traditions. Others, like Wildwood's "Celebration of Heroes" event, are new this year, offering summer visitors another reason to spend the weekend.
'Celebration of Heroes' in Wildwood
The Wildwoods are kicking off a new, weekend-long event to honor active duty servicemen, veterans, first-responders and their families this Memorial Day.
The Celebration of Heroes Festival will run Friday, May 25, through Sunday, May 27. The weekend will include a military procession, family beach events and an outdoor food and music festival featuring free concerts by some of the Jersey Shore's top bands.
The Celebration of Heroes' Military Procession & Remembrance Ceremony will take place 1 p.m. Sunday, with a procession of military service heroes, veterans, celebrities and the Coast Guard Recruit Marching Band. The Procession ends at the Wildwoods Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall (located at Columbus Park across from the Wildwoods Convention Center), where the Heroes Remembrance Ceremony and Air Force and Coast Guard flyovers will take place.
A USO-style variety show and concert at the Wildwoods Convention Center, emceed by "Saturday Night Live" alum Joe Piscopo will take place 8 p.m. Sunday, May 27. Piscopo will perform his orchestra-backed Sinatra musical set, and Philadelphia's own Bobby Rydell will perform "Wildwood Days," in addition to a number of other musical artists and entertainers, including "American Idol" finalists Michael Sarver and Haley Scarnato. Tickets start at $25 and are available through Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com or the Convention Center Box Office.
Special discounts for hotels, restaurants, area attractions and retail stores will be available for active military, veterans and first responders throughout the weekend. Go to www.WildwoodsNJ.com/heroes.
Annual Kite Festival in Wildwood
The 27th Annual Wildwoods International Kite Festival, the largest festival of its kind in North America, kicks off Friday on Rio Grande Avenue beach with a night-lluminated kite fly at 9 p.m.
The East Coast Stunt Kite Championships take place all day Saturday, May 26, and Sunday on the beach, as well as kite exhibitions and workshops. The festival ends Monday, May 28, in the Wildwoods' Convention Center with a choreographed indoor kite fly that is free to spectators.
Cape May Music Festival
Enjoy orchestral and chamber music, a world traditions series and "Bach's Lunches" at the 23rd annual Cape May Music Festival, Monday, May 28, and running through Thursday, June 14.
The 35-piece Atlantic Brass Band will kick off the festival 7 p.m. Monday with a free outdoor concert at Rotary Bandstand, located at Lafayette Street and Lyle Lane. The British-style brass band is based out of Rowan University in Glassboro, Gloucester County.
The New York Chamber Ensemble returns 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 29, to present "Music By the Numbers" at the Episcopal Church of the Advent, located at Washington and Franklin streets. General admission is $20, $15 for seniors and $5 for students.
The Masters of the Celtic Harp will perform a free show at the new Cape May Convention Hall 8 p.m. Thursday, May 31.
In addition to the concert series, the Cape May Music Festival features "Bach's Lunches" at the Carriage House Cafe & Tearoom, located on the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street in Cape May. Join members of the Bay-Atlantic Symphony for an intimate concert featuring favorites from the classical repertoire 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 30. Before the concert, enjoy a tea luncheon. Tickets are $30 and reservations are limited to 50 people. Order tickets by calling 609-884-5404, 800-275-4278 or go to www.capemaymac.org.
A tribute concert celebrating the musical legacy of George Mesterhazy will take place 8 p.m. Sunday, June 3, at the new Cape May Convention Hall. Pianist Barry Miles will serve as musical director for the show. Musicians include bassist Tim Lekan and drummer Bob Shomo, members of the George Mesterhazy Trio. Vocalist Paula Johns and clarinetist Joe Barrett will be performing songs from their latest CDs, both of which Mesterhazy, who died April 12, produced, arranged and played on. Tickets are $25 general admission; $20 for seniors; $10 for students.
Blues and Barbeque at Natali Vineyards
North Carolina-style barbeque, local wines and the classic blues stylings of singer Frank Bey blend well together at the annual Blues & BBQ Festival, taking place at Natali Vineyards in Cape May on Sunday, May 27.
Bey will be performing live in the Natali Vineyard all afternoon during the festival, which takes place from 1 to 6 p.m., and includes a North Carolina-style pig roast. Italian sausage sandwiches and sausage bread will also be available, among other items.
A tour of the vineyard and barrel room will take place at 2:30 p.m. with winemaker Alfred Natali. Local beekeeper Gary Schempp will give a talk on honey production at 4 p.m.
Call 609-465-0075 or go to www.NataliWines.com.
Cape May Convention Hall opens with POPS
Peter Nero, music director of Peter Nero and the Philly POPS, will help celebrate the grand opening of the new Cape May Convention Hall 8 p.m. Saturday, May 26.
Each ticket includes admission to the concert plus a complimentary glass of champagne and a commemorative program. Street parking is available around Cape May Convention Hall and a free, round-trip trolley service from the Cape May Elementary School on Lafayette Street will run a continuous loop for audience members.
Tickets are available at the Civic Affairs Office in Cape May City Hall, located at 643 Washington St., or by calling 609-884-9563 or go to