Continuing work on Battlefield Civil War Park has forced the Veterans Celebration Committee to find another location to have the Kentucky Veterans Welcome Home Celebration this year.

The committee was advised by Madison Judge-Executive Kent Clark that work being done at the park could create a safety hazard for the large number of people expected to attend this year’s event. Event coordinator Chuck Sawyers has agreed to use the county fairgrounds this year.

Using the fairgrounds provides some advantages in the ability to stage the event. The main building is air-conditioned, which could provide a better climate than last year’s sweltering heat that probably deterred a lot of expected attendees. The building also can be used for housing the vendors, which will negate the need for them to bring tents and awnings to cover their merchandise, as well as to cover it in case of rain.

The grandstand and track can be utilized for the musical entertainment portion of the program.

The fairgrounds is a mostly flat area which will make it a lot easier to locate the various activities where they won’t interfere with each other. A separate gate will be used for those who only want to visit the traveling Vietnam Wall and the Iraqi Standing Proud Truck.

We were unable to dedicate money to bring the truck here last year, but we are determined to bring it in this year for all those who are fighting and have fought in that war. A different, slightly larger Vietnam Wall will be here this year. They will be accessible both through the special entrance and from the main celebration area.

Requests have been submitted for a fly-over by both the Navy and Air Force again this year. We are working with the bomber and fighter wings to have a B-52 and T-45 make passes as they did last year.

A larger number of static displays of military equipment is being planned with the large flat area of the fairgrounds. Camping is still being discussed with county officials and its feasibility will be determined soon.

This event was conducted last year strictly with donations and a small parking fee on Friday and Saturday. This year, it will be operated with donations again except for a small admission fee. Children 12 and younger will be admitted free.

To help fund this event, we need about 30 donors making a donation of $2,000 each. Last year, we called this the “59 Elite” program and listed all donors on our Web site. So this year, we are calling it the “Elite 30” program. This doesn’t mean that you can’t donate a smaller amount to help with the financing of this celebration for all our Kentucky veterans. If you have $1 to spare, it will be gladly accepted.

For more information and to make a pledge of support, contact Chuck Sawyers at 1-859-369-3797 or Emerson McAfee at 1-859-986-4362. We are in the process of obtaining a tax number so we can provide you with a tax exemption letter for your tax purposes.

The celebration Web site is being updated from last year and should be full of information soon. You can access it by going to http://kentuckyveteranswelcomehome.com.

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