National surveys by AAA show that travel across the United States will be up 1.2 percent compared with last Memorial Day weekend.
AAA Executive Vice President of Public Affairs Jim Hanni said the travel estimates for Thursday through Monday are higher in the northern part of the west-central U.S., which includes Kansas, than they are nationally.
Memorial Day events in the area
• American Legion Dorsey-Liberty Post 14 Memorial Day Ceremony
10 a.m. Monday, Oak Hill Cemetery, 1605 Oak Hill Ave., free
• VFW Post 852 Memorial Day Ceremony, 11 a.m. Monday, Memorial Park Cemetery, 1517 E. 15th St., free
• American Legion Dorsey-Liberty Post 14 Memorial Day Service, 11:30 a.m. Monday, Clinton Cemetery, 724 North 950 Road, free
• American Legion Post 228 Memorial Day Ceremony, 10 a.m. Monday, Oakwood Cemetery, Fourth and Orange streets, Baldwin City, free
• 53rd annual Abdallah Shrine Rodeo
7 p.m. today — rodeo performance
7 p.m. Saturday — demolition derby and ROBE performance
Leavenworth County Fairgrounds, 22618 McLouth Road, Tonganoxie
Tickets for the event can be purchased at B&J Country Mart, 319 Ridge St. in Tonganoxie, and online at www.shrine rodeo.com.
Kansas City area
• Vintage Military Vehicle Display, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and Monday, National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, 100 W. 26th St., Kansas City, Mo., free
• Bank of America Celebration at the Station
4:30 p.m. — Air Force Brass in Blues
7:30 p.m. — Kansas City Symphony
9:15 p.m. — fireworks display
Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Road, Kansas City, Mo., free
• National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial Ceremony
9:30 a.m. — color guard parade
10 a.m. — ceremony
National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, 100 W. 26th St., Kansas City, Mo., free
The average distance traveled during the holiday in the region is expected to be 665 miles round-trip, which is down about 19 percent compared with 2011. However, AAA is predicting Kansas residents will travel farther than the national average of 642 miles round-trip. Eighty-eight percent of people going out of town will travel by car.
“We’re able to get in our car and go a little easier in the rural areas,” Hanni said.
Lower gas prices may mean even more travelers than estimated based on the survey, Hanni said.
Gas is 21 cents lower now than a month ago and 44 cents lower than last year, and Hanni thinks people are being more “aggressive” with traveling.
Travel to Lawrence could be a possibility for some, too. Lawrence will play host to the Kansas State High School Activities Association 6A state championship for baseball and softball and the annual Art Tougeau parade at noon Saturday on Massachusetts Street, all events that could bring an increased number of visitors.
AAA offices have noticed a dramatic increase in traffic this year. Kansas map requests have tripled from April 1 to now compared with last year, with 613 requests versus 189, said Hanni, which means people are planning trips in the Kansas region.
There is no way for AAA to determine whether the people requesting information plan on traveling over the Memorial Day weekend or are planning trips for later in the summer.
At the lakes
Park personnel at Perry and Clinton lakes are preparing for what they say is the busiest weekend of the year.
David Rhoades, Clinton Lake park manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said with the warm weather and small chance of rain he is expecting about 60,000 visitors at Clinton Lake.
Koi Henderson, Perry Lake natural resource specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is expecting 25,000 visitors and said the campgrounds surrounding Perry Lake were completely booked for the holiday weekend.
Rhoades and Henderson both stressed the importance of preparing vehicles and boats prior to going to either lake, and the importance of using life jackets and being safety conscious.
“We want folks to come out and have a good time, but we want them to be safe,” Henderson said.
There are ceremonies and events in the Lawrence area for residents who choose to stay in town over the holiday weekend.
American Legion Dorsey-Liberty Post 14 and VFW Post 852 will host Memorial Day ceremonies Monday in Lawrence to honor service members. The American Legion will host two ceremonies: The first will begin at 10 a.m. at Oak Hill Cemetery, and another will be at 11:30 a.m. at Clinton Cemetery.
The VFW ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. at Memorial Park Cemetery and will include a guest speaker, a veteran from the Iraq war, as well as an all-Iraq/Afghanistan veteran Honor Guard. The ceremonies are free and all community members are invited to attend.