Blues musicians, vendors, to gather for Valor fundraiser
The Second Annual Blues for Valor will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at the West End Fairgrounds in Gilbert.
“This is a celebration of our veterans and our heroes who have fallen at home. We are here to bring awareness to their fight and make it known that it is not OK to push their struggles aside,” said Beth Lutz, Valor’s fundraising coordinator since January and a volunteer in various capacities for four years. “Twenty-two veterans a day lose their battle at home and we are here to let people know that this needs to change, that there is help and there is a better way.”
The Valor organization supports and helps re-establish veterans back into the community with health, living and educational opportunities.
Last year’s event was held indoors at the American Legion Post 9 in Palmer, where they hosted 200 attendees. They raised about $10,000 from the event, 50/50 raffle tickets, basket raffles, shirt sales, and donations from organizations such as the Legion and Verizon, she said.
Lutz admitted to being nervous for Saturday’s event.
“Last year we planned and planned. We planned for eight months and pre-sold tickets, we had an idea of what to expect,” she said. “This year I have no idea.”
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, they had to move this year’s event outdoors, had less time to plan, did not pre-sell tickets and had to put safety measures in place.
“Masks are required to enter the gates and temperature checks will be taking place. We ask that people use precaution and practice social distancing the best they can and if you feel sick (as much as we would love your support) please stay home,” she said.
Kids are encouraged to come in costume and will be able to trick-or-treat in the hay barn.
“The American Legion, VFW and volunteers that have agreed to help out will be handing the candy to the children. We ask that the kids not stick their hands in any candy baskets,” she said.
Gates open at noon. Admission is $20 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and under. Kids are admitted free if they bring non-perishable foods to help fill the Valor van with canned and boxed foods.
“The shelves in our storage area are pretty empty so we are looking for any non-perishable foods, canned goods with pop top lids, packaged meats, protein bars and canned soups are great this time of year,” she said.
The first activity is a walk around the Military Mile. The walk is free, but people will be able to purchase T-shirts and patches.
“As you walk around the mile, participants will take in some pretty astounding information,” she said.
Blues musicians James Supra, Sarah Ayers and the band will play mainly from 1 to 4 p.m., with two small set breaks. They are known throughout the Lehigh Valley and surrounding area. They have performed at jazz festivals in New Jersey and Canada.
“Their music is high energy and upbeat. James is amazing on the harmonica and has won the Lehigh Valley music award multiple times for his skills. Their musical arrangement is everything from BB King to The Allman Brothers,” Lutz said.
They performed at last year’s event and were happy to come back.
“The band will be performing at the main stage so everything will be centered around that,” said Lutz. “We do remind people to bring their lawn chairs and we will have the fire pit lit for s’mores and warmth.”
A few antique military vehicles will be on display, as well as some newer Army National Guard vehicles. The Monroe County Sheriff Department will also participate.
There will be various vendors, including Scentsy, Candleman Creations, Pocono Originals, AromaTheraPutty, Bearly Get’n By wood carving, American Legions, VFWs and a few military-related participants.
Bill Stavey, a Brodheadsville resident, will present a history exhibit on Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945.
Stavey, who will wear clothing of that period, said he is looking forward to “interacting with the spectators and sharing information on FDR.”
In addition to FDR presentations, Stavey used to portray Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president from 1861 to 1865, when his daughter, Melissa, was a student at Pleasant Valley in the 1990s.
Dale’s Concessions is handling the food, which includes French fries, mozzarella sticks, hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, hot and cold drinks, and funnel cake.
Sleepy Cat Winery, based in Allentown, will be there and have special bottles on hand. Barley Creek Brewing Company, of Tannersville, will be the beer vendor.
Lutz said she is “looking forward to having so many moving parts involved this year. Everything from the Memorial Mile to the opening ceremony, which includes Sarah Ayers singing the National Anthem while being accompanied by the American Legion Post 927 Honor Guard.”