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A military weekend in Farmington

Military families old and new are invited to the Dakota County Fairgrounds this weekend for a few fun events scheduled just for them.

Warrior to Citizen will hold its third annual Military Family Day picnic at the fairgrounds from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday. Organizer Annette Kuyper said the event has lots to offer families, too.

"This is one of our large events that Warrior to Citizen and the Farmington VFW partner on," Kuyper said. "We want families to come out and have a good time and see what types of resources are available to them."

Last year, about 300 people -- all from military families -- participated in the picnic, even though it was a damp, soggy day. Visitors were able to stay dry by enjoying a meal of hot dogs and chips under the pavilion or by checking out the resource tables inside one of the buildings at the fairgrounds. If this weekend brings showers again, the picnic will still go on - it will just be moved inside.

More than 35 resource groups have registered for the picnic. The National Guard Army recruiters are bringing a rock-climbing wall, and there will be a few inflatable toys for kids to bounce in. Lots of kids' crafting activities are on the schedule, as are volleyball, baseball, soccer and dance camps.

All that is needed now are the guests.

So far, Kuyper has only gotten a handful of reservations from military families who have said they want to attend the event. With a deployment coming up and the fact that May is a busy time of the year, she understands some folks might not be able to get out for a picnic. On the other hand, a picnic is a nice way to spend time with families, too.

"This is a big event we have for our families," she said. "We just want to get the word out."

The event isn't just for the families of today's soldiers and sailors. It's geared for anyone who has ever been a military family - including the area's veterans.

"Once a military family, always a military family," Kuyper said.

In addition to the picnic, Dakota City will be home to the World War II Weekend. A group of WWII reenactors will camp at the fairgrounds -- in period-appropriate campsites -- and conduct a series of activities throughout the afternoon. Anyone who attends the Military Family Day picnic receives a discounted price to the reenactments. Visitors can see weapons demonstrations, WWII and modern military vehicles and the actors act out a couple of battles.

For more information on the Military Family Day picnic or to preregister, visit the Warrior to Citizen website,

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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