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Street fair to offer understanding of military life

OCEANSIDE — The upcoming Walk a Mile in Their Boots fair is designed with civilians and military in mind. The street fair Nov. 8 will be sponsored by the Oceanside Public Library and have interactive stations that will give civilians a better insight into military life. It will also have resource booths for active duty military, veterans and their families.

The goal of the fair is to increase understanding and empathy for veterans.

“It’s open to everybody to help them learn, talk to each other, and take away some of the stigmas of military life,” Jennelise Hafen, senior librarian, said.

Event activities will include a children’s boot camp. Camp Pendleton Young Marines will direct fellow boys and girls though an obstacle course that will challenge youngsters’ agility and strength.

Other stations will offer temporary tattoos, a taste of MRE rations and allow participants to strap on a loaded backpacks carried by troops on foot.

“People can experience different aspects of military life,” Hafen said.

There will also be a yoga session in the Community Room, and a mixed martial arts demonstration.

Other activities include painting a community mural, and crafting cards to send to our troops overseas.

“It’s a nice way to get the community involved,” Hafen said.

Resource providers on site will include P.O.W., a nonprofit organization that provides emotional peer support, and mixed martial arts, yoga and fitness training to veterans.

North County Veterans Association will share information on its job training and work search services, and links to other resources.

Courage to Call will explain its veteran-run peer support services, which provide referrals, training and a 24/7 helpline at 2-1-1.

The Veterans of Foreign War Post 10577 and Camp Pendleton representatives will also be on site to share information.

Throughout the day gourmet food trucks will be parked on Pier View Way with food for sale. The day will also feature inspirational speakers and live music.

This is the first fair of its kind the library has hosted. Hafen said she hopes it will continue annually.

“It’s necessary, and should happen more,” Hafen said.

Funds for this year’s fair were part of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, which enabled the library to hold the fair without charging resource providers for booth space.

The Walk a Mile in Their Boots fair will be held at from noon to 5:30 p.m. Nov. 8 at Civic Center Plaza.