“Operation: Forever Grateful,” one of the most important events of the Delaware County Fair, takes place on Friday.
The event is a 6:30 p.m. dinner for military veterans in the Pavilion Hill Tent.
“This is our fourth annual dinner,” said Harold B. Wolford, a veteran and fair board member who now runs the event. “First year, we had 150 in attendance. Last year, we had close to 450 in attendance.”
The dinner is presented by All Occasions Catering, Delaware County Veterans Services and Delaware County Commissioners.
The menu includes steak and chicken, green beans, red potatoes, salads, rolls, coffee, tea, lemonade and desserts from North Star Concessions.
Quilts of Valor will be awarded, while free door-prize drawings for veterans and a keynote speaker are also part of the event.
The event is open to all, but preregistration is required. Preregister by visiting www.delawarecountyfair.com or the fair office or the Delaware County Veterans Services Office, 149 N. Sandusky St. Tickets are free to veterans and one guest or Gold Star families, with additional tickets at $10. Tickets for active military and their guests are $10. Tickets for the public cost $20. All tickets include admission to the fair.
For Wolford, the dinner is a way to continue to serve.
“I point out to the people who attend, this event is not only taking place because they served, but because we are successful in life and as a society,” he said. “This is a thank-you dinner, not a woe-is-me dinner.”
Military vehicles and equipment will be on view in and around the coliseum from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and veterans identification cards can be issued in the coliseum annex. Bring your DD-214 (which will be returned) and one other form of identification for the ID card.
Friday is Military Appreciation Day at the Fair. “Activities for the day include the firing of Civil War cannons several times during the day,” states the fair program.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.