City appreciates military Saturday

The fifth annual Military Appreciation Picnic on Saturday at Windjammer Park will provide a single location for sailors and community members to share food and fellowship.

Adults and children alike will have their senses overloaded from noon to 4 p.m. This year’s event will once again offer pulled-pork sandwiches prepared by Oak Harbor’s original barbecue king Rodger Anglum and hot dogs prepared by Greg and Linda Wasinger from 7-Eleven.

There will be fun activities for the kids, including games, face painting by the folks from Re/Max, balloons prepared by Jus’ Wally the Clown, train rides and live music from the Navy Band. New this year are a dozen door prizes, among them tickets from Oak Harbor to Seattle on Kenmore Air.

The event is sponsored by the Navy League of Oak Harbor, the city of Oak Harbor and the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce and Community Services. Many local businesses and community members also help make the gathering a reality.

The community contributes more than $5,000 in cash and in-kind donations annually, and more than 50 community volunteers work hard to make the event enjoyable for the participants.

“I am sure there are a lot of communities out there that say they love their military, but none put those words into action quite like Oak Harbor,” said Jill Johnson, Greater Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce executive director. “We know our military families make a lot of sacrifices on our behalf, and it’s nice to have a chance to show our appreciation, share a meal, and have a little fun.”

Free to military personnel with identification, and their families, the picnic is a nominal $5 fee for everyone else.

The picnic is a way for the community to tap into a tradition that ended decades ago. More than 60 years ago, the Navy would fly in salmon from Alaska and the city would cook it up for the military and civilian communities, said Beth Munns of the Oak Harbor Navy League.

“This is revitalizing the spirit that was started by the town so long ago,” said Munns, former Navy League president and one of two national directors for Oak Harbor. “It was just started as a community effort.”

For more information about the picnic, contact the chamber at 675-3755.

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