OCEANSIDE — Operation Appreciation will honor active duty military and their families at the Pier Amphitheater for Armed Forces Day May 19.
A giant American flag on the pier overpass will mark the event area.
“I encourage you to come out if you really want to meet some wonderful men and women who have given their all,” David Nydegger, Oceanside Chamber of Commerce CEO, said. “It’s an upbeat day. We’re there to have fun and say thanks, thanks, thanks.”
The celebration starts at 11 a.m. with a patriotic opening ceremony and complimentary lunch for active duty military and their families. Boys and girls from Bonsall Elementary School will sing as part of the ceremony.
The celebration continues through the afternoon with live music, kiddy rides, sponsor booth giveaways and raffle prizes. Military will receive free raffle tickets for drawings worth a total of $2,000 in gift cards.
“There are a lot of sponsor giveaways,” Kristi Hawthorne, event coordinator, said. “We’ve doubled the number of sponsor booths we had last year.”
The Chargers girls will greet event-goers during the first two hours.
Vintage military vechicles from the Marine Corps Mechanized Museum Camp Pendleton will be on display all day.
The day is designed for residents to come out and personally thank military men and women for their service. All activities are open to the public and a wide variety of food will be available for purchase.
“It’s one of my favorite events,” Hawthorne said. “We as a community get together to feed them, give them a day of fun, and hope they feel appreciated.”
Operation Appreciation is sponsored by the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce. The event has been held annually since 9/11. Total attendance is usually 4,000 people.