It’s that time again. Today (May 18, 2018), the United States Naval Academy begins celebrating graduation of its class of 2018. Next week, a series of public events will be held to keep the celebration going. Commissioning Week honors the First Class Midshipmen who have completed four years at the Naval Academy topping off a full week of excitement with graduation day at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Friday, May 25, 2018.
Even if you don’t know anyone graduating from the Academy this year, Commissioning Week offers a long list of events open to the public. Join in to get a taste of the United States Naval Academy’s history and tradition. The full schedule of USNA Commissioning Week includes both invitation-only and public events such as the popular Blue Angels flyover and demonstrations. Here are some of the pubic events you might want to check out if you are lucky enough to visit Annapolis in the week leading up to Memorial Day.
USNA Commissioning Week Public Events
Naval Academy Tour
You don’t have to wait for Commissioning Week to explore the Naval Academy as tours are available year round. But, if you are in Annapolis for the week’s activities, you can join a tour group at the Armel-Leftwich Visitors Center or, just walk through the yard at your own pace. Plan your visit just right to take advantage of the events below as well as drill demonstrations, ceremonies, and parades that take place at the academy during the week.
Bring two forms of valid ID (drivers’ license, passport, credit card, student ID) to enter the USNA. Expect to have your bags checked and to pass through a metal detector for security purposes.
Patriotic Choral Concert
Tuesday, 22 May 2018, Main Chapel 8:30 pm. Doors open at 8:00 pm. Tickets: $19 or $16 depending on pew location, available online until 3 hours before performance, by phone, or at the door on the night of the event starting at 7:00 p.m.
Three incredibly talented groups of the Naval Academy combine their voices to present a 90-minute concert of favorites honoring the USNA Class of 2018. The Men’s Glee Club, Women’s Glee Club, and Gospel Choir will regale some patriotic favorites, sea shanties, Broadway tunes, and gospel songs in the Naval Academy Chapel.
Commissioning Week Organ
Wednesday, 23 May 2018, Main Chapel 4:00 pm. Doors open at 3:30 pm. General admission tickets are $16, available online until 3 hours before performance, by phone, or at the door on the night of the event starting at 2:30 p.m.
Immediately following the Blue Angels demonstration, world-class organist, Monte Maxwell, demonstrates the incredible and haunting power and sound of one of the finest organs on the planet. Come enjoy the music and air-conditioning.
Blue Angels Air Show
The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squad, better known as the Blue Angels, present aerial displays several times during Commissioning Week. These low-flying airborne acrobats are the reason most people take time to come to Annapolis during Commissioning Week. This free event can be viewed from the Severn River banks on the Naval Academy campus. Be sure to catch at least one of the flyover events:
- Tuesday, May 22, 2018, above the Severn River
- 11:00 am – 1:00 pm for circle and arrival
- 1:45 pm – 4:00 pm for a flight rehearsal
- Wednesday, May 23, 2018, above the Severn River, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm for a flight demonstration
- Friday, May 25, 2018, graduation flyover above the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Getting Around During Commissioning Week
The Navy-Marine Corps Stadium offers parking for $5. A daily shuttle provides free transportation between the stadium and the academy. Also, the city parking garages are a short walk from the Naval Academy.
For safety reasons, the bridge over the Severn River on Route 450 is closed to all vehicles and pedestrians during the Blue Angels demonstrations on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Stay for Memorial Day
Following Commissioning Week, the city of Annapolis offers tons of weekend activities. Annapolis Bay Charters offers day sails to enjoy the Blue Angel flyovers or top off the perfect week with a lazy sail. So stay, enjoy the weekend, then join the revelers for the Memorial Day Parade honoring the men and women who gave their lives while in service to our country.
The parade starts at 10:00 AM following its traditional route down West Street to Church Circle then down Main Street…expect the parade to wrap up about 11:30 AM.
Following the parade, there is a wreath-laying ceremony at Susan Campbell Park on the harbor.