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Vet Fest: A New Tradition

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A new tradition debuts this weekend in Hernando County; in the form of an event that in turn honors the traditions established by the veterans of this nation. A legacy of service, bravery and valor that is well worth celebrating.

Vet Fest Hernando County, scheduled to take place Saturday, October 14, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday, October 15, 9 a.m .- 5 p.m., at VFW Post 10209, 14736 Edward Noll Drive, Spring Hill, will be a vivid festivity of live music, food trucks, vendors, and much more. The mission of this free event is to promote patriotism and honor military service and veterans in our communities. All proceeds will go to benefit Hernando County veterans, their families and the community organizations that serve them.

A suggested $5 donation will be requested to go to FFA attendants for parking at this event, which will feature more than 100 vendors as well as live entertainment, games, a corn hole tournament, a kids’ area, food, a cash bar inside and a prize booth. This event is sponsored by the Weeki Wachee Area Club, VFW Post #10209 and the VFW Auxiliary.

“Please consider helping our community embrace this inaugural VET FEST event. All proceeds for this event will benefit Veterans, their families, and community organizations,” read an event notice. “As a Purple Heart County, Hernando symbolizes hope for combat wounded Veterans and their families. Come out and support those who sacrificed so much for our nation.”

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To kick off the event, a Friday, October 13, dinner will be served from 6 – 9 p.m. at VFW Post 10209. The evening will feature a band for entertainment and several speakers, including U.S. Representative Gus Bilirakis and County Commissioner Brian Hawkins. The Vocalitas will perform live music. The cost of admission is $45 per person; visit https://tinyurl.com/3xurxktf for more information.

“This is going to be big,” said Jim Sales, VFW Post #10209 spokesman. “This is the first of what we hope is many Vet Fest events here in Hernando County.”

At this post, The American Legion Post 418 has joined forces with VFW 10209 to help many more veterans, with all varieties of services and resources.

Through this newfound partnership, these two veterans organizations provide a myriad of services for veterans who seek their aid–helping them prepare the paperwork needed for government benefits, seek counseling and health services, procure information about resources in regards to food, housing, etc. From a listening ear to a helping hand, this new partnership is making major changes in this county’s range and availability of services for all vets; without limiting aid to veterans based on where and when they served their nation.

“We don’t want to turn anyone away,” said Sales. “This is why we need the support of the public, through fund-raisers such as this one.”

Live entertainment at Vet Fest will be provided by Draw 4, Crossfire Creek Band, DJ Fred Campbell, and Mid-Life Crisis. “All of our members have either served in the military or have lost loved ones who served,” said Vinny Androsiglio, Draw 4 guitarist.

Androsiglio says that he and his bandmates are honored to perform their signature variety of country and classic rock in support of area veterans. “These men and women have sacrificed themselves for our country,” he said. “The least we can do is give of our art, to support them.”

This sentiment is shared by Crossfire Creek, a new country band that will take the stage at VetFest. “Our lead singer is an Air Force Veteran and he likes to give back to his brothers and sisters in arms,” read a statement prepared for The Hernando Sun by lead vocalist Beamon.

Another planned highlight of this special event will be the 1rst Annual Post VFW 10209 Vet Fest Poker Run, 10 a.m. on Oct. 14. This five-stop poker run will be coordinated by Post VFW 10209 and American Legion 418, with assistance from the Second Brigade MC and the American Legion Riders. Net proceeds from the Poker Run entries and its 50/50 drawings will support Veteran causes, including Initiatives that are working toward ending Veteran suicide.

Times:
10 a.m. – KSU from the Joint Post (Last bike out ~ 10:30)
Second card – Moose Lodge 1676 on Wiscon Rd
Third card – VFW 7122 in Floral City
Fourth card – American Legion 99 in downtown Brooksville
Last card – Back at Joint Post VFW 10209 / AL 418
You can join the Poker Run and catch up on any missed cards at any stop during the ride as long as there are tickets available.

“This is an event where you could make a difference in the life of an American Hero,” read an event notice. “We’re expecting at least 200 bikes,” said Sales. “All there for the veterans.”

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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