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Four things to do over Memorial Day weekend -- for free

Check out Civil War-era music played on historic instruments by a re-created Union Army band in Long Beach

Record numbers of us -- 37.2 million, according to the AAA -- are going somewhere over the Memorial Day weekend. Here are four events that will take you off the freeway and into communities for music, reflection and art.

Pt. Reyes National Seashore: A Friday morning ceremony will mark what's called the "sacrifice of the surfmen" who were part of the 19th century U.S. Lifesaving Service. These men at the Northern California outpost risked their lives to rescue people from shipwrecks off the rocky coast and bring them safely to shore.

At 9 a.m., members of the National Park Service, the U.S. Coast Guard and the public will hear a brief history of the service and a biography of the individuals buried at the Lifesaving Service Cemetery that's now part of the parkland. A benediction follows at 9:35 a.m. Info: Pt. Reyes National Seashore, (415) 464-5100

Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site: The city of Long Beach acquired Rancho Los Cerritos in 1955 and opened it to the public as a museum. The city has scheduled a series of concerts to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the landmark, which features an adobe built in 1844.

On Sunday, the Band of the California Battalion -- a re-creation of a Civil War-era Union Army band -- will perform a free concert from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Band members wear authentic uniforms and play on period instruments. Guests are invited to arrive at 4:30 p.m. to picnic at the site before the concert. Info: Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site, 4600 Virginia Road, Long Beach; (562) 206-2040.

Nixon Presidential Library and Museum: Admission to the Nixon library and museum is free on Monday, Memorial Day, when wreaths will be laid at the memorial sites of President Nixon and his wife, Pat.

After the 11 a.m. wreath-laying ceremony, a Memorial Day commemoration to honor America's war dead begins at 1 p.m. with remarks by Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Daniel Yoo. A military band will play, followed by a 21-gun salute. 

At 3:30 p.m., visitors can hear the 90-piece Placentia Symphonic Band perform. Info: Nixon Presidential Library & Museum, 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd., Yorba Linda; (714) 983-9120; Richard Nixon Foundation

I Madonnari: The street chalk festival at the Santa Barbara Mission is now in its 29th year. The name "madonnari" comes from the tradition of Italian street painters who often created images of the Madonna.

There are 150 "squares" for artwork at the mission at 2201 Laguna St. in Santa Barbara. The sale of squares raises funds for the nonprofit arts education program Children's Creative Project. Subjects for the street art run the gamut, including flowers, portraits and scenes from everyday life.

The festival is free and open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday through Monday. Info: I Madonnari, (805) 964-4710

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