Patriotic festival returns to Baroda

Published 9:31 am Thursday, July 24, 2014

Organizers have a full day of activities planned for festival-goers in Baroda this weekend. (Submitted photo)

Organizers have a full day of activities planned for festival-goers in Baroda this weekend. (Submitted photo)

BARODA — On July 26, the Village of Baroda will welcome as many as 8,000 visitors to the Support Our Troops Festival, an event designed to celebrate and support the American veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country.

Originally the project of Carle Post, son of a veteran and owner of Baroda’s Gun and Bow Outpost, the Support Our Troops Festival has grown over the past four years.

“Carle started it on his own to help wounded veterans who were in need of assistance. His father was a veteran, but as the last surviving son in his family, Carle wasn’t allowed to join the service,” explained Sherry Petzke, one of 15 board members for the nonprofit that plans the festival each year. “This was his way of giving back.”

Like Post, Petzke felt compelled to join the Support our Troops board because of the service her own family members had given to the country.

“My whole family is involved in the service,” Petzke said. “Everyone on our board is ex-military or some form of family member.”

One of those board members, Jeff Roberts, serves as the executive chairman for entertainment.

“We raise money to help veterans, like the wounded veterans coming back from overseas,” Roberts said. “We raise money to donate to Paws with a Cause, the Wounded Warrior Project, Lest We Forget, veterans’ hospitals in the state of Michigan, and other causes like those.”

Last year, Roberts estimates that the festival was able to raise over $26,000 to donate to those and similar organizations, and this year’s festival looks like it may be even bigger than in previous years.

“It’s amazing that we get such a turn-out in such a small town,” Roberts said. “And, we’re getting more and more sponsorships each year. Whirlpool has signed on this year, donating appliances for the raffle.”

Other sponsors include Honor Credit Union, Sieman’s, Miller Lite, Martin’s Supermarkets and Chemical Bank, just to name a few.

Besides the raffle, in which participants can win a variety of prizes including several firearms, there will be a full day of entertainment for patriots of all ages.

The schedule begins at 8 a.m. with a custom and classic vehicle show. Soon after, vendor booths will open up for the day, selling food, t-shirts, military gifts, and a wide variety of other items. A supervised kids’ carnival area will be open all day as well.

A parade will take place at 12:15 p.m., including military vehicles, area veterans, and other public service agency personnel.

“We have a motorcycle run, and we also have Bill Camp’s Famous Flying Dogs. They do Frisbee tricks. He has done NFL half-time shows for Colts, Steelers and Bears games. He’s volunteering his time for this event,” Roberts said. “There will also be helicopter rides for an extra charge. A retired Vietnam veteran does those.”

Then, later in the afternoon, the festival will provide visitors with live music and a beer garden, followed a huge fireworks show at 10:30 p.m.

“This year, we have a tribute show, the ‘Me & The Boys Music Show.’ We’ll have Irv Cass performing as Tom Jones and Elvis, Steve Bobbitt as Rod Stewart, I will perform as Roy Orbison, and there are several others, too,” Roberts said. “Then, 5th Gear, a popular band from Buchanan will follow that up.”

The festival will take place at the American Legion Post 345, located at 9214 First St. in Baroda, and a full schedule of events can be found on the festival’s website, Updates are also available on their Facebook page at OurTroopsFestival.

Tickets to the event can be purchased in advance from participating businesses and sponsors as well as at the gate. They are $10 for adults, and children aged 10 and under are free. Family ticket packages are also available for $25.