On Friday, July 22, the Central States Fairgrounds will come alive as it hosts the Black Hills’ 36th annual Military Appreciation Barbeque.
Jeff Carsrud, chairman of the Community Outreach Pillar Black Hills Military Affairs Coalition, explained the history behind the event.
“Well, first thing, this has a lot of heritage,” said Carsrud. It started back with Ed McBride in his backyard about 35 to 40 years ago, and since then, it’s ballooned to the point where we are now hosting it at the Central States Fair, expecting over 500 to 600 people.”
According to Carsrud, the barbeque will include a traditional pig roast and an awards ceremony honoring Back Hills heroes and those who support them.
“We take this event very seriously,” said Carsrud. “We do a pig roast, even though the pig doesn’t take care of all of the food that we need. We do it because, just symbolically, because it means a lot to the folks who got us here, and it means a lot to the military. Here in the Black Hills, we love our military community. We as a community support these heroes, and this is our way to give back and honor them. We’re going to honor five Air Force folks for their superior service and then five from the Army National Guard, and then also we’ll have a Spouse of the Year for each one and then a Civilian of the Year for each one.”
Wall Meats has been named the 2022 Business of the Year, and will be presented with a food truck at the event.
The barbeque aims to celebrate military personnel and their families alongside members of the Black Hills community.
“What we’re going to do is we’re going to take military, both active duty and veterans, so prior service,” said Carsrud. We’re going to feed them and their families. And then the community can come out and enjoy this event with us, honor these guys, and then we’re going to have food trucks available for the community to be able to also partake in this.”
According to Carsrud, plenty of activities for children will be available during the event, including face painting and an opportunity to explore some military vehicles.
“We’re going to have lots of things to do for the families,” said Carsrud. “This is an appreciation, this is an appreciation for the military, not only for the military, but for the families because they go through a lot as well as our active veterans. Their spouses, their family members, have to get up and move every couple of years most of the time, and so they’re the backbone of these folks who are serving.”
The Black Hills Military Advisory Coalition, also known as the MAC, is responsible for hosting the barbeque.
“What this organization came from was the Ellsworth Task Force, Embrace the Base, the Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee. All of those groups have in the past couple of years dissolved, and we created one super group to be able to support our military in this community. It’s called the Black Hills MAC,” explained Carsrud.
Tickets are not necessary for admission; however, while the food is free for military personnel and their families, non-military community members must pay for their meals.
The barbeque will take place Friday, July 22, from 5-8 p.m. at the Midco Stage at the Central States Fairgrounds.
For more information about the Military Appreciation Barbeque, visit the Black Hills Military Advisory Coalition’s website here.