Our 13th Annual Patriot Freedom Festival is May 27-28, 2017 from 11AM – 6PM both days! The kick-off for the event is the Opening Ceremony on Saturday, May 27, 11 AM on the historic Band Stand, at which we will celebrate the Dayton VA’s 150th Anniversary with noted personalities of the past!
Our Master of Ceremonies will be American Veterans Heritage Center’s Board of Trustees officer, David Neuhardt. We are honored that Dayton VA Director Glenn Costie will bring greetings and welcome from the Dayton VA.

Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln will be present, as well as our first Chaplain, William Earnshaw. General William B. Franklin was the President, Board of Managers for the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1867-1896. We will also meet Civil War widow Mrs. Emma Lloyd Miller who was the first matron for the National Homes and brought 16 disabled “boys in blue” with her to the new Dayton site in the fall of 1867. Mrs. Mary Lowell Putnam’s son, William was killed in the Civil War, and Mrs. Putnam of Boston sent books, artwork and sculptures in memory of her son. The collection of books became known as the Putnam Library. Mrs. Putnam visited the Home on July 2, 1772 and was greeted with a great reception.

Entertainment. During our Patriot Freedom Festival, we have live on-stage entertainment both Saturday and Sunday! Entertainers include Erin Viancourt, (Western Swing, Americana, Ameripolitan, Country, Rock & Roll and Country-Rock), Troupe ROJA, (American cabaret/Vintage Oriental belly dance, Middle Eastern folkloric styles and theatrical fusion), Blue August, (Classic and Modern rock), Charles Kennedy, (Gospel), Courtney Wise, (original songs and popular covers), Eric Loy, (rock, jazz, classical, age), Half Past Surprise, (Hard rock), Jason Ligier, (Rock, Soul, Blues), Rock Island Plow Company, (hard driving & traditional bluegrass), Still Standing, (Southern rock, classic rock, folk, country and modern rock) and SWITCH 2, (Rock and Roll, oldies). Check out these entertainers bios at our FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/PatriotFreedomFestival/

Interfaith Veteran Recognition Service. Saturday May 27, 2017, at 5:30pm. Come to the Grotto Gardens at 5:30 pm for ice cream, tours and music, sponsored by the Interfaith Forum of Greater Dayton. Then join us at 6pm for our fourth annual Interfaith Veterans Recognition Service with a program of music, word and prayer to honor the service and sacrifices of our veterans. Co-sponsored by the Greater Dayton Christian Connection, the Interfaith Forum of Greater Dayton, and the American Veterans Heritage Center, the service recognizes the contributions of our veterans in defending our freedoms and securing the peace in which to practice them. Help us remember veterans of all faiths, especially those who gave their last full measure on our behalf. Chairs provided, or bring a blanket and sit on the grass.

The celebration is part of the Memorial Day weekend Patriot Freedom Festival and caps off a day of family friendly activities throughout the Dayton VA Campus. Join friends and neighbors to enjoy the service amidst the beautiful natural surroundings of the historic Grotto Gardens.

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, but 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!

Living Historians will be present throughout the Festival and will tell their stories, and remember we have many FOOD and MERCHANDISE VENDORS!