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Community thanks Hill service members, families with 'Salute Picnic'

Families gather at Centennial Park for the 18th annual Salute Picnic Aug. 17, 2018, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Nearly 3,500 people attended the event sponsored by the Top of Utah Military Affairs Committee. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

Families gather at Centennial Park for the 18th annual Salute Picnic Aug. 17, 2018, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Nearly 3,500 people attended the event sponsored by the Top of Utah Military Affairs Committee. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

Families attend the 18th annual Salute Picnic Aug. 17, 2018, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The event was sponsored by the Top of Utah Military Affairs Committee, a joint committee between the Davis Chamber of Commerce and the Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

Families attend the 18th annual Salute Picnic Aug. 17, 2018, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The event was sponsored by the Top of Utah Military Affairs Committee, a joint committee between the Davis Chamber of Commerce and the Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

Waldo Wildcat, Weber State University's mascot, interacts with families during the Salute Picnic Aug. 17, 2018, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The picnic was hosted by the Top of Utah Mlitary Affairs Committee and serves to thank service members and their families for their service. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

Waldo Wildcat, Weber State University's mascot, interacts with families during the Salute Picnic Aug. 17, 2018, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The picnic was hosted by the Top of Utah Mlitary Affairs Committee and serves to thank service members and their families for their service. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

Families listen to live entertainment during the Salute Picnic Aug. 17, 2018, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. This was the 18th year the Top of Utah Military Affairs Committee has sponsored the picnic. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

Families listen to live entertainment during the Salute Picnic Aug. 17, 2018, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. This was the 18th year the Top of Utah Military Affairs Committee has sponsored the picnic. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

Michael Quinby descends an inflatable slide during the 18th annual Salute Picnic Aug. 17, 2018, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Sponsored by the Top of Utah Military Affairs Committee, this year's event included activities such as wet and dry inflatables, a rock climbing wall, face painting and a mechanical bull. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

Michael Quinby descends an inflatable slide during the 18th annual Salute Picnic Aug. 17, 2018, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Sponsored by the Top of Utah Military Affairs Committee, this year's event included activities such as wet and dry inflatables, a rock climbing wall, face painting and a mechanical bull. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Military and their family members gathered Aug. 17 for food, fun, and entertainment during the annual Salute Picnic at Centennial Park.

This was 18th year the Top of Utah Military Affairs Committee, or TOUMAC, has sponsored the picnic, which serves to thank the military and their families for their service. The first event was held Dec. 7, 2001.

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

Three local restaurants were featured at this year’s picnic. Roosters, Holy Smoke BBQ & Grill and MacCools Public House provided the high-end picnic fare. The event also included live entertainment, as well as wet and dry inflatables, a rock wall, face painting, princesses, photo booth, and kid-friendly foods. This year, the TOUMAC even introduced a mechanical bull.

Several members of the TOUMAC and community leaders attended the event to meet and greet, serve food and beverages and bus tables.

"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 Barbara Riddle, chair for the Salute Picnic. "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.