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Bands, beans, brats ... even beer

The area Family Readiness Group is throwing a party Sunday.

Lakes Area Armed Forces Appreciation Day is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 16, from 12:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Becker County Fairgrounds Fieldhouse.

The event is for all veterans, family and friends -- basically "pretty much the whole community," said co-organizer Doug Newman.

Rather than just have a celebration for those returning this summer with Able and Echo companies, the group is opening up the celebration to any who have served.

"What the Family Readiness Group wanted to do here is make it larger, not just for our soldiers (that just returned)," co-organizer Dave Knopf said.

The afternoon and evening will be filled with games for kids and adults, music, food and several dignitaries.

Complete with a hog roast, brats, beans and lots more, food will be served from 12:30 to 2 p.m.

After the meal, four bands have donated their time to entertain until 7:30 p.m. Those performing include Bryce Niemiller Project, October Road, Marshall Daniels Band and Fat Cats.

Knopf said the Frazee Lions have stepped up to serve beer, but stresses that the celebration is intended to be more of a "family picnic," than a beer party.

Also during the festivities, the company commander will present a Purple Heart to one of the soldiers, and U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson and Detroit Lakes Mayor Larry Buboltz will speak.

"It's a thank you to anyone who served," Knopf said. "People are really stepping up for this."