Military, families invited to Salute Picnic

  • Published
  • Top of Utah Military Affairs Committee
The Top of Utah Military Affairs Committee, or TOUMAC, invites all active duty, Guard and Reserve military and family members to join them for the annual Military Salute Picnic Aug. 17 at Centennial Park. No speeches are planned; just fun, food and entertainment.

“We are thrilled to feature three well-known and respected local restaurant favorites at this year’s picnic,” said Barbara Riddle, chair for the Salute Picnic. “Roosters, Holy Smoke BBQ & Grill and MacCools Public House will provide the high-end picnic fare.” The free Salute Picnic runs from 4-8 p.m. with food service available from 4-7 p.m. Registration for the event can be done through unit first sergeants.

This will be the 18th year TOUMAC has sponsored the Salute Picnic. The first event, held Dec. 7, 2001, attracted approximately 350 people. This year they are planning for more than 3,500 to attend.

"This event originally started as a welcome home celebration for military deployed following 9/11," said Bob Ekstrom, vice chair of the Salute Picnic. "As the ops tempo increased and deployments continued throughout the years, it evolved into an annual picnic held in the summer.

"We are excited about the continual growth of the event," he added, "and the fact that we continue to serve 10 times the number of those attending the first event."

This year’s Salute Picnic will feature live entertainment featuring Mid-Life Crisis, as well as activities for all ages including ten wet/dry inflatables, a rock wall, access to the Splash Pad adjacent to Centennial Park, face painting, princesses, photo booth, and kid-friendly foods. There will be a professional kite flyer and the 75th Security Forces Squadron's military working dog flight will provide a demonstration.

For Airmen, young and old, there will be a 96-foot Airman Warrior Challenge timed course challenge with a gunny sack race to the finish line. Prizes will be awarded.

“This year we upped our game and added a mechanical bull to see who the real cowboys are,” said Riddle.

"Everything is free," said Ekstrom. "Come in picnic attire and plan to eat, drink, and basically have some fun."

Members of the TOUMAC members and community leaders will be in attendance to meet and greet, serve food and beverages, bus tables, and handle garbage duty.

"This annual picnic is a highly anticipated event for our committee and sponsors as it provides the opportunity to roll out a fun event for our Airmen and their families,” said Riddle. "Volunteering for this event is an annual highlight as it affords our community the ability to provide a small service to our many Airmen and their families who serve this country”.

The TOUMAC is a joint committee between the Davis Chamber of Commerce and the Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce. They sponsor other events for Hill's military and civilian employees, including military appreciation nights at an Ogden Raptors baseball game and at Weber State University football games.

The committee also sponsors a Newcomers Social to welcome newly assigned military into the community and supports base recognition programs and quality of life programs for the military and their families.