Our 10th Annual Patriot Freedom Festival was a milestone achieved. We had an estimated 6,000 guests who enjoyed music, vendors, living historians, food, and a beautiful weekend. We hope you were able to attend, but if not, you certainly missed a great event!

The Festival started off with our traditional Opening Ceremony at which the Preble County Honor Guard began with Posting of the Colors. Gus Vitali from VFW #9550 did a wonderful job introducing everyone. Major General (Ret, USAF) Everett Odgers, AVHC Trustee, reviewed the accomplishments of the AVHC in the past ten years. Kathy Hayes spoke on behalf and represented the Dayton VA. Eight of the thirteen student winners of the Annual Art Contest run by Bridget Federspiel attended the Opening Ceremony to receive their prizes. Two teachers (Kettering Middle School and Cleveland Pre-k -8) also attended. The Art Contest participants were from schools of the Greater Miami Valley.

We had an outstanding line-up of entertainment on two stages this year. Thanks to all the bands and performers who generously gave their time and talents to entertain our Veterans and guests. Many of these groups returned from previous year’s performances such as NoT ThaT BaD and Troupe Roja, as well as Switch 2. Many were new this year thanks to the efforts of our new volunteer, Ken Aiken, who also brought his band; Still Standing. Ken also brought his sound equipment and many volunteers. Thanks to Ken and the Entertainment Committee for their efforts.

The Miami Valley Military History Museum was open all weekend. In the Children’s’ Area, the youngsters learned about our American Military and got to even try on some of the uniforms of various branches.

Our reenactors included the 101st Airborne Div. WWII Living History Assn., the Fifth Ohio Light Artillery LTD, Rick Williams as General Custer, Herb Pfaff as General Grant, Gary Chambers as General Lee and James Crabtree as President Abraham Lincoln. The 4 Freedom Team worked hard all weekend, and our Tour Guide Extraordinaire – Margaret Kruckemeyer was a big hit with her Bus Tours.


Paul Gillman was a very important part of the tradition of the Patriot Freedom Festival. Paul passed away this year and we honored his memory at our Festival with this Poster. The Memorial reads: “Paul honorably served in the United States Air Force for 23 years. He completed 5 tours in Vietnam. His deep love of history and his Visionary work began the first Civil War Living History Event here at the Dayton VA Medical Center in September 2005. Throughout the ten years since, the event has evolved and grown into the Patriot Freedom Festival. We thank Paul for his vision, hard work and his patriotism.”

So much happened during this Memorial Day weekend that we could fill a small book! Please be sure to mark your calendar for next year – the 11th Annual Patriot Freedom Festival, May 23-24, 2014 at the Dayton VA!

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