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Vet Jam fest: Music for a good cause

News-Sun - 3/5/2017

AVON PARK — The Vet Jam Music Fest offered a daylong mix of music, food, vendors, information from churches and political groups, and classic cars on the downtown mall.

Bittner Bees anchored the west end of the booth, selling pollen, honey and combs, royal jelly, bee’s wax, even lip balm.

The honey had a local flavor, often coming from bees that gather nectar from orange blossoms. It’s good for everything, said Donna Ramsey: “Door jams, surfboards, sewing…”

At the Highlands County Democratic Party booth, new chairwoman Audrey Ascuitto introduced William Canavan, an attorney from Legal Aid of Collier County.

“I’m answering questions to let people know what their rights are,” Canavan said. If an alien gets stopped by a police officer, should he or she feel comfortable answering questions? If parents get deported, do children have an emergency plan that will help them avoid foster care?

The Rotary Club hosted a beer garden, tickets were sold for a raffle, more than a dozen classic cars and a few dozen more motorcycles lined Main Street, four bands played from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The event was hosted by the Battle of the Bands, a non-profit that contributes to local veterans’ projects and charities. Event organizer Anna Marie Feeney estimated at noon that 2,000 people had attended Vet Jam, now in its third year. “I think we’ll hit 3,000 this year.”

She hoped to clear $2,500 in profit, which will decorate the military memorial with Christmas trees. Last year, Feeney said, a tree for each military service was decorated with its own colors – scarlet and gold for the Marines, for example.

All the money goes to charity. In 2017, donations will be made to VFW Veteran’s Relief Fund, the PTSD spouse support group, and the Military Sea Services Museum.

“It does not leave the county,” Feeney said. Last year three $1,000 checks went to veterans’ projects: Project Vet Relief, Rotary Freedom Flight and Paws for Veterans.

Also, Vet Jam holds an annual veterans food service project on Veterans Day, which is called “You Served Us, Now We Serve You.”


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