A way to show appreciation for Scott Air Force Base and the military families who move here, the Salute to Scott Tribute and Business Expo returns to a November date to be nearer to Veterans Day.
But the same festive fun is planned, including St. Louis Cardinals’ mascot Fredbird’s appearance, food samplings from local restaurants, children’s activities and more.
The 24th annual event will take place Saturday, Nov. 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Gateway Classic Cars, 1237 Central Park Drive, in O’Fallon. The O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce, along with the city of O’Fallon and the village of Shiloh, are the hosts.
“It’s our tribute to them, to make them feel welcome and that we care about them and appreciate them and what they go through to serve our country, and their contributions to our communities,” said Debbie Arell-Martinez, director of the O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce.
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Both mayors, Herb Roach of O’Fallon and Jim Vernier II of Shiloh, said they enjoy the camaraderie of the event.
“Last year, the event was moved and coordinated with Veteran’s Day. It was so successful we decided to continue with the new format. This year will be bigger and better!” Roach said.
“We participate every year, and I look forward to it. It’s something that we can do for Scott and their military personnel who serve our country. We are happy to have them here and be a part of our community, Vernier said.
In addition to the usual events, the Chamber will recognize and honor Purple Heart recipients. Both O’Fallon and Shiloh were recently designated Purple Heart Communities.
Each mayor will read proclamations and signage will be unveiled to be placed in both towns. Congressman Mike Bost was previously announced to be part of this program, but Arell-Martinez said he is unable to attend
Purple Heart recipients have been invited to attend the 10 a.m. ceremony.
“I look forward to meeting them and congratulating them, and thanking them for their service, Vernier said.
When the event began in 1994, it was held in June at the community park. The chamber’s Military Affairs Committee organized it to show appreciation for base personnel and to increase the awareness of the important relationships that exist between Scott Air Force Base, its families, and surrounding communities, Arell-Martinez said.
Last year it was going to conflict with the air show, so the Chamber moved it, and now they like the Veterans Day aspect, she said.
“We loved it indoors so much, we’re staying. That way if it rains, sleets or snow, we’re inside,” she said.
Arell-Martinez said those affiliated with Scott should bring their military or government civilian identification card for free admission, which gives guests access to all the food, fun and prizes.
Residents associated with Scott Air Force Base or who reside in either O’Fallon or Shiloh resident and directly support the base are invited to bring their families and enjoy free food, drinks and activities.
Free hot dogs, chips and soda will be served from 11 a.m. -to 1 p.m.
Some local restaurants will be on-hand to provide “A Taste of,” including Bella Milano, Chick-fil-a Fairview Heights, The Egg and I, McDonald’s, Peel wood-fired pizza, Sugarfire 64 and Syberg’s
The Chamber is sponsoring a business expo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The expo features displays from local businesses. These businesses, as well as all of O’Fallon-Shiloh, are happy to show their appreciation for those who serve,” Arell-Martinez said.
About 100 vendors participated last year, and more than 1,500 people were in attendance, she said.
“We have no sales that day. It’s a thank you,” Arell-Martinez said.
She said while the adults are enjoying the classic cars on display, the kids can have fun at our Kid Zone. There will be mascots on hand to visit, including the St. Louis Cardinals’ own Fredbird from noon to 1 p.m. You can take your picture with him.
“We have all kinds of stuff for the kids,” Arell-Martinez said.
New this year is Roaming Riddle Escape Games, which is a mobile unit that will be set in the front and is for adults only.
A model Tiny Home will be on display, courtesy of the O’Fallon VFW Post. That is a home for homeless veterans program that the area is exploring. (See article here https://www.bnd.com/news/local/community/ofallon-progress/article211157984.html)
Entertainment will include the O’Fallon Township High School Madrigals and the Midwest Twisters gymnastics center in O’Fallon.
Guests can register for attendance prizes at the information booth between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Names will be drawn at the end of the event and winners notified.
“We have some great prizes again this year,” Arell-Martinez said.
For more information on the Salute to Scott Day event, contact the O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce at (618) 632-3377.