Memorial Day sparks a lot of emotion. It's a day we remember our fallen heroes, family members and loved ones. We take a trip to Tahoma Cemetery or whatever you go to show your respects, attended the annual Memorial Day parade and carry on with your Memorial Day activities. Memorial Day is kind of the unofficial Summer kick-off. Instead of spending a ton of money traveling out of town, here are a few things to do in the Yakima Valley.

Have a Barbecue

Memorial Day weekend is often synonymous with having a good ol' fashioned BBQ in your backyard. There never needs to be much planning and usually not something you need to RSVP for. Just a quick "Hey, I'm having a barbecue, you should come, bring chips" passing in the hallway gets the job done. Throw on a sprinkler for the kids, grab some regional micro brews and slather up some ribs. If you don't have a barbecue grill, there are several parks in Yakima, including Franklin Park, that has designated picnic areas with grills you can use. I couldn't think of a much finer thing to do with my Memorial Day weekend in Yakima than having a barbecue in my backyard - or your backyard, I'll bring the chips.

Go Swimming

Memorial Day weekend is when the open the public swimming pools. I grew up not to far away from Franklin Pool. During the non-summer months, taunting me with it's empty pool, wishing I could just fill it up myself and dive off the board (back when they had a diving board). Now there's a little slide which is good enough. Always inexpensive for the day and conveniently on Tieton drive, take a dip in the pool for the first time of the year. Fear that there's never enough space for you to put your towel down and get some sun? Good news is this year also opens the newly expanded Franklin Pool with added room. The perfect, fun way to cool off during the hot Memorial Day weekend.

Go Camping

If you grew up in the Yakima valley, no doubt you've been camping in some form or another in the area. I'm not talking about this staying at the KOA with indoor plumbing and showering facilities. I'm talking about sleeping under the stars, pillow optional, roasting marshmallows and hot dogs over an open fire kind of camping. Many of the areas up in the hills have designated camping spots that are on a first come - first serve basis so show up early and set up before someone may swipe your favorite spot. There are a few places right along the side of the river, too. Perfect location for you to put your soda or other beverages in the cold running water to keep them cold.

Go on a Wine Tour

The Yakima Valley is known for it's wine and some of the best wineries known all over the US and around the world. With over 70 wineries, many award winning, It might be a great time to go on a wine tour. One location you should try to stop by is the Maryhill Winery near Goldendale as on Memorial Day they feature wine tasting, live music, BBQ and great deals for purchase. The Maryhill Winery is worth the quick trip this Memorial Day.

Have a Yard Sale

I don't need to tell you that if there was such an award, Yakima would win first place in the 'Most Yard Sale'est City in America.' If you haven't done your spring cleaning yet, or have but haven't had the chance to get rid of your stuff yet, throw it all on your front yard, tie a couple balloons to your fence and sell off your old junk. Yard Sales are a great way to toss all of your old stuff and make room for new stuff. Usually not for the money, but just to clean up the place. If you're really not in it for the money, consider using this yard sale where the proceeds are donated to a local charity of your choice. You can probably even get your friends, family and neighbors to join in with your yard sale if it was for a greater cause.

These are just a few ideas, perhaps you have your own. I'd love to hear your personalized BBQ recipes, where you like to go camping and what you generally do on Memorial Day in Yakima. Tell us below.