By Tracy Clemons

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Memorial Day is set aside to honor our nation's men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. And the long weekend will be filled with barbecues, picnics and events around town.

More than 30 artists will perform at the Bluesweek Festival in Downtown St. Louis.

PHOTOS:Memorial Day weekend preview

"This year it's just gotten a lot bigger. We have more vendors," said Festival Director Mike Kociela. "One of the biggest things we did is we brought back BBQ and then our talent is just off the hook."

Ralph Berg came from Chicago and staked a spot out early this afternoon for one of his favorite bands.

"I saw Trombone Shorty at Bluesstock in New York and it's the greatest band I've ever seen as far as entertaining and sound," he said.

A few miles away in Forest Park, the Shakespeare Festival is up and running.

"We average about 3,000 a night. Last year, 66,000 people saw 'Othello' and we're expecting just as many this year for 'Twelfth Night,'" said Shakespeare Festival St. Louis Executive Director Rick Dildine.

Each night starts with a Green Show and roaming performers at 6:30 p.m.

"I think it's the kickoff to the St. Louis summer. It's a chance to come out and break bread with your family and friends and see the best playwright in the world right here in Forest Park," Dildine said.

"It's free, and it's outdoors, and it's Shakespeare and I'm with family," said long-time Shakespeare Festival patron Anita Jones.

And this weekend is the 33rd year of the St. Louis County Greek Fest in Town and Country. Organizers say it serves a few purposes.

"One is to promote Greek culture. The other is to give people the opportunity to taste Greek food. The other one is to familiarize them with the Greek Orthodox Church here in Town and Country and the Greater St. Louis area," said Greek Fest Chairman Art Liyeos.

Liyeos says they expect about 15,000 people.

"People have an opportunity to learn how to dance Greek and if they want to, to learn how to sing Greek," he said.

Greek Fest runs from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. through Sunday. Memorial Day hours are 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Bluesweek Festival goes from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. through Sunday.

Shakespeare Festival in Forest Park runs through June 16. Shows are every night except Tuesdays at 8 p.m. The Green Show begins at 6:30 p.m.

Admission for all three events is free.

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