State Fair recognizes military

Thursday, July 17 is Military Appreciation Day at the California State Fair and all active, reserve and veteran military personnel will be recognized with free admission to the State Fair with proper identification.

Along with free admission there will be employment workshops for military, Military Ready to Eat (MRE) cooking competitions and events honoring military personnel at the Sacramento Republic FC game at Bonney Field.

Veterans can learn how to make the transition from military service to state civil service by attending one of two employment workshops being offered. The workshops, scheduled for 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the Golden 1 Concert Stage, are open to everyone, but will be especially helpful to recently returned veterans and veterans currently seeking employment.

The workshops are a joint effort of the California Department of Human Resources, California Department of Veterans Affairs and the California Military Department. Workshop speakers include: Brandon Littlejohn, CalHR statewide recruiter; Colonel Michael Wells, undersecretary, California Department of Veterans Affairs; and Major Aaron Roggow, deputy director of Work for Warriors, Department of the Military. Veterans who have successfully transitioned from military to state service will also share their experiences.

In addition, the California Veterans Association has scoured the state for chefs brave enough to face the challenge of turning an military-issue MRE into a gourmet meal in the California State Fair’s first MRE Cooking Challenge in the Save Mart Supermarkets California’s Kitchen.

The two qualifying rounds of the MRE Cooking Challenge start at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The winners from round one and two will move on to the final round at 7 p.m.

They will have five minutes to shop for ingredients and 10 minutes to prep their kitchen. They will then have one hour to cook and present their meals to the judges, who will score based on taste, presentation, skill level, use of MRE ingredients, work habit and showmanship. The winner of the MRE Cooking Challenge will be named the 2014 MRE Cooking Challenge Winner and take home a coveted State Fair Blue Ribbon.

MRE packages are self-contained, individual field rations in lightweight packaging bought by the United States military for its service members for use in combat or other field conditions where organized food facilities are not available. An MRE contains a main course, side dish, bread, dessert, and flame less ration heater. Each meal is about 1,200 calories and has a shelf life of three years.

During Military Appreciation Day guests can also participate in Operation Postcard, a great way to support troops deployed around the world. Operation Postcard is an effort by friends and family of deployed military who organize care packages, provide resources and support troops and veterans. You can find more information at

Sacramento Republic FC will also be honoring the region’s military throughout the match on July 17 with many special events and offers.

There will be representatives from the region’s military bases who will participate in the national anthem and flag presentation. Military personnel will be part of the halftime entertainment and military personnel will be offered $5 beer specials at Bonney Field vending stands by showing a military ID.

Tickets to the match have been donated to military personnel and families. There is a 10 percent discount for Republic FC merchandise at Bonney Field merchandise tents with military ID.

The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) works to serve California veterans and their families. With nearly 2 million veterans living in the state, CalVet strives to ensure that its veterans of every era and their families get the state and federal benefits and services they have earned and deserve as a result of selfless and honorable military service. CalVet strives to serve veterans and their families with dignity and compassion and to help them achieve their highest quality of life.

For more than 160 years, the California State Fair has showcased the best of California. We are celebrating the best at the California State Fair July 11-27 at Cal Expo.

Tickets to the fair are $12 for adults, $8 for children and $10 for seniors.

Information on tickets is available at or by calling 916-263-FAIR (3247).

California Exposition And State Fair

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