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Annual Military Family Day is set for Saturday

Last year, Farmington's Warrior to Citizen group held a picnic for the families of men and women in the military. It was at the Dakota County Fairgrounds, and about 160 family members turned out for the occasion.

It was, by all measures, a success - so much so, another Military Family Day picnic is planned for this weekend. And organizers are hoping to have just as many - if not more - military families join in the fun.

"It's just an event to bring military families together to have a fun day," said Warrior to Citizen founder Annette Kuyper. "It's just something we do to recognize military service members and their families and show our appreciation for everything they've done."

Once again, the picnic will be held at the Dakota County Fairgrounds. It's free and open to all military service members and their families around the area. It is hoped the event will draw from more communities than just Farmington - maybe more of southern Dakota County even.

To make that happen, Warrior to Citizen has partnered with the newer Yellow Ribbon Networks from Lakeville, Inver Grove and Hastings.

"That expands our outreach to more families to within Dakota County," Kuyper said.

There will be lots of things for these families to do, too. The picnic begins at noon, with a free lunch for all who attend. In addition, a Blackhawk helicopter will land on the fairgrounds for visitors to check out. There will be sports camps run by high school athletes from around the county, and the National Guard will bring out a climbing wall. The Farmington Fire Department and Police Department are bringing out vehicles so kids can check those out, as well.

There will be 30 resource tables set up for the military families, providing them with information for a variety of support networks, programs and facilities.

"That way, we can provide veteran and military resources to families that might not otherwise have access to that kind of information," Kuyper said.

The event closes with a comedy show provided by ComedySportz Improv at 3:15 p.m.

"We just want to keep growing this event, to make it bigger and better every year," Kuyper said. "It just goes to support Warrior to Citizen's mission of recognizing and supporting military families."

Registrations for the event are requested so organizers can plan food accordingly. Reservations can be made on the web site,

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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