Salute Picnic: 17 years later, 10 times the fun

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HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — The Top of Utah Military Affairs Committee (TOUMAC) invites all active duty, Guard and Reserve military and family members to join them for their annual “Military Salute Picnic” on July 14 at Centennial Park. No speeches are planned; just fun, food and entertainment.

This free picnic runs 3-7 p.m. and the high-end picnic fare, catered by Gastronomy Inc., is available from 3-6 p.m. Sign-up for the event can be done through unit first sergeants.

This will be the 17th year TOUMAC has sponsored their “Salute Picnic.” The first event, held Dec. 7, 2001, attracted approximately 350 people. This year they are again 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 No Limits, 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, photo booth, and kid friendly foods. There will be a professional kite flyer and the 75th Security Forces Squadron’s K-9 team 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.

The Alpha Warrior Battle Rig and Youth Battle Rig are coming to Hill AFB on July 14 and 15. Warrior celebrities of American Ninja Warrior will be in attendance at the picnic from 4-6 p.m. to promote the Saturday competition.

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

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 Barbara S. 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.”

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 the Ogden Raptors baseball games and at Weber State University football games. TOUMAC also sponsors a Newcomers Social to welcome newly assigned military into the community and support base recognition programs and quality of life programs for the military and their families.

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