A large event this weekend for veterans, military members and their families will offer a day of fun but also connect them with needed resources.

Vet Fest 2018 is being put on in partnership by the Region 9 Veterans Community Action Team (R9VCAT) and Mt. Brighton this Saturday, August 11th. The event that will feature three live bands, special appearances by the Detroit Lions, BBQ food and refreshments, various activities for kids and giveaways. Members of the Detroit Lions will be giving out backpacks filled with school supplies to school age children of military members or veterans.

Joshua Parish is the Regional Coordinator for the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency. He says there is a large influx of younger veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan and blending back into society - many looking to start a family, buy a home or go back to school. He says many younger veterans are not visiting typical service organizations but are attracted to events and organizations that can include their family and some type of outdoor opportunity to potentially help them give back to their local community.

Parish says one of the underlying goals of Vet Fest and other events is to educate veterans about benefits they’re entitled to and what resources each agency can provide for each veteran and their family. In turn, he says they’ve been able to attract large numbers of veterans, which hasn’t happened in the past. He says bounce houses, vehicle displays, rock climbing wall, face painting, food, bands and raffles attract people to the event but another underlying goal is camaraderie. Parish, a veteran himself, tells WHMI sometimes the transition from military life to civilian life is really hard and this event provides an opportunity for veterans to interact with each other.

Those who pre-register through Eventbrite will be entered into a drawing to win kayaks, golf clubs or a jersey signed by the Detroit Lions. Pre-registration is also encouraged so organizers can plan food appropriately. The link is provided. (JM)