The American Legion Color Guard presents the colors at Last year’s Veterans Appreciation Show, which will also honor local emergency responders. They will present the colors again this year in a show that will present entertainer Michael Peterson free to the public. Organizers are inviting all area veterans and the families and friends to attend the event July 31 at the fairgrounds grandstands. L&T file photo
By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
Local and area military veterans will once again be honored at this year’s Five State Fair.
On July 31, the Veterans Appreciation Show will be center stage in the Seward County Fairgrounds.
Fair board member Larry Phillips said this is the third edition of the event, and after some fizzle its first year, last year’s show really took off.
“We did a lot better. We had guest speakers, including Lt. Col. Doug Jacobs, who was raised here in Liberal, graduated from Liberal High School in 1968, 30-plus years of military service,” he said. “He’s going to be back this year as a guest speaker.”
First Southern Baptist Pastor Dr. Jack Jacob will provide the benediction for the evening, and the show kicks off with riders from the Patriot Guard, American Legion Riders and Liberal Harley Owners Group entering the grandstands.
“They’re going to try to have some motorcycles come in, lead the parade into the grandstands,” Phillips said. “They’ll come in from the northwest end, circle the track and park. Right behind them in the parade will be emergency responders vehicles from city and rural fire departments, EMS, EMTs and Liberal police and sheriff’s office vehicles.”
Members of the American Legion will then present the colors, and the evening’s big entertainment will be provided by former country and western musician Michael Peterson.
“He has really dedicated his life in the last few years to service members and their families,” Phillips said. “He’s been over to Afghanistan and Iraq nine times to entertain the troops.”
Peterson has won the Bob Hope Spirit Award for his efforts, and he and his wife will put on a one-hour show for the crowd in the grandstands.
The entire event is free to all veterans and families, as well as the general public.
“Anybody that walks in the gate is free that night,” Phillips said. “We will have a concession stand where they can buy sodas and snacks.”
Phillips said the fair board is inviting all veterans and families in the five state region to come to the show to be honored and saluted for their service.
“We will also be having the Quilts of Valor group, the ladies there,” he said. “They’re going to be presenting two very special quilts. I can’t leak who it’s going to go to, but it’s going to be a very moving ceremony.”
Phillips said those in attendance can sit back and enjoy the night’s festivities, and he added several fellow board members saw part of Peterson’s act at the Colorado State Fair and Festivals Convention last November.
“They said there wasn’t a dry eye in the house,” he said. “He is just so powerful, and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Phillips is promising the biggest and best vet show the fair has ever had, and he emphasized everything is free.
“They can walk in the door and see one heck of a show, plus honor our veterans,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about. We don’t want them to ever forget that we appreciate their service to this country and what they do for us.”