Our 12th Annual Patriot Freedom Festival is May 28-29, 2016 from 11AM – 6PM both days! The kick-off for the event is the Opening Ceremony, at which we will honor and recognize our “Women in the Military.” Throughout history women have not be recognized nor credited with the contributions they made to our liberty. Although our goal is to honor and recognize all Veterans, this year we are focusing on our women veterans in particular.

Women have been involved in the U.S. Military since 1775, but more in the civilian fields of nursing, laundering and mending clothing, and cooking. Several hundred women enlisted and fought in the US Civil War, nearly all of them disguised as men. Many were discovered on the battlefield and in hospitals after becoming wounded. In 1917, Loretta Walsh became the first woman to enlist, but it was not until 1948 that a law was finally passed that made women a permanent part of the military services. Women now serve in 95 percent of all army occupations.

In addition to Honoring Women in the Military, we will present the 2016 Art Contest Winners. In 2011, the Patriot Freedom Festival started the art contest for area school children. In the past five years, the contest has grown tremendously. This year 10 area schools submitted 102 entries. The theme of the 2016 contest was Thanking our Veterans.” Thank you to supporters of the Art Contest: Stivers Alumni Association, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 9, Veterans of Foreign Wars of Ohio Charities Post 9582, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9550 and Disabled American Veterans Chapter 140.

The Art Contest committee also thanks Brent L. Davidson, Diane Harm, Robert A. Kincses and Michael D. Turner for judging the entries.”
The 2017 Patriot Freedom Festival Veterans Art Contest theme is: Remembering the Civil War and the due date is April 14, 2017.

SPECIAL ACTIVITIES

During our Patriot Freedom Festival, we have live on-stage entertainment both days. We also have some special events you won’t want to miss!

Opening Ceremony – Our Opening Ceremony begins at 11 AM Saturday May 28 at the historic Band Stand located in front of Building 320, Lakeside Manor. During this year’s ceremony, we will honor Women who have served in the military. Jim Bucher has graciously agreed to be our Master of Ceremony and his daughters will sing the National Anthem, making it a “family affair!”

At 1:00 PM Saturday in the Grotto Gardens, a Dedication of the new wheelchair ramp and sidewalk will take place. Join the Greater Montgomery County Master Gardener Volunteer Association and the Dayton VA in this special recognition of the generosity of Home Depot for their sponsorship and volunteerism on this project.

Interfaith Memorial Service is Saturday, May 28 at 6 PM in the Grotto Gardens. Join us for our third annual interfaith program to honor the service and sacrifices of our veterans. Celebrate in music, word and prayer. Help us remember those of all faiths who gave their last full measure on our behalf.

Blue Star Mothers Annual Flag Refresh Ceremony – Sunday, May 29 at 11:30 AM, The Blue Star Mothers Chapter 3, based here in Dayton, joins with the 4 Freedom Equestrian Team, Margaret Kruckemeyer, Abraham Lincoln and others in this ceremony to remove the one year old BSM Flag at the Gettysburg entrance to the VA Campus and replace it with their new flag. Public is welcome. The 4 Freedom Equestrian Team will then move down to the Grotto Gardens for a Photo Op visit.

Gold Star Wives Memorial Service is on Sunday, May 29 at 1 PM in the historic Soldiers Home Chapel, (also known as the Protestant Chapel). Come into the restored Chapel and join us in this special Memorial Tribute to our fallen. This is NOT JUST FOR GOLD STAR WIVES nor GOLD STAR FAMILIES. This is open to the public. Come find out what Memorial Day is REALLY all about!

Campus Bus Tours – During the Patriot Freedom Festival, sign up at the Information Booth located on Kentucky Street. Tour Guide Margaret Kruckemeyer will drive you in an air-conditioned tour bus around the campus describing various historical buildings and places of note. The now well-known Grotto & Gardens is one of the stops on this tour. This very popular tour lasts approximately 45 minutes. Enjoy this time to sit back, relax and learn about the history of our campus and our Civil War Veterans

The Children’s Program provides and educational atmosphere for youngsters at the Festival. Kids will come to learning stations, see military transport equipment, and sample MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). The children will learn of flag etiquette and to identify various medals received by our military. Each child will receive a personal flag, a balloon and then can go down to the Grotto Gardens to participate in planting a flower and taking one home!