Onslow County Sheriff’s Office and The Military Order of the Lancers has a list of more than 50 vendors, artists and attractions they will be using to give veterans, active duty military and their families a “normal” day of fun. 

The 20th annual Onslow County Veterans and Active Duty Family and Friends Fun Day will take over the Onslow County Government Complex, 234 NW Corridor Blvd. in Jacksonville, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday to honor this group of community members. 

“it is an all-out event that has something for everyone including a hay ride for the kids,” event coordinator John Michael Moore said. “The big thing this year is that we have moved it into the government center and will have trade show performers and vendors and a ton of other things inside as well. This really is a full encompassing, family event.”

The event has found success for the last two decades because of the cooperation of many community groups, Moore said. 

This year is no different with the sheriff’s office and Military Order of the Lancers being major sponsors. 

Moore represents the county, sheriff’s office as well as the Military Order of the Lancers. 

“It is so much of a blessing that the county has made such efforts to offer things like the government complex and ample parking to make the event what it is,” he said.

Open to veterans, active duty, first responders and homeland heroes and their families, Moore hopes the day’s events will allow the working members to feel normal. 

“Because we all served, in a nutshell,” Moore said of why the Lancers continue the event year after year. “We know what it is like to be military family. We know what it is like to be away from your family. We know what it is like to be in that grind of 24/7, 365 days a year. To have that moment where they can relax and have fun and be ordinary people with their families, is important. We do it where it is for them, not for publicity.”

Everything from employers seeking and wanting to help transitioning military members, to a mobile t-shirt shop, to a pair of authors will be on hand Saturday for the families to enjoy. 

Bounce houses and half a dozen food trucks will also be present. 

Jason Adams, a reknown violinist, will be performing a special concert, among other live performances. 

Vehicles from every division of the sheriff’s office will be at the event ready to answer questions, give tours and to help blaring their sirens signaling the opening of the event, Moore said. 

A special ceremony will kick things off. 

The Knights of Columbus will raise a new flag being presented to the government complex, followed by the national anthem being sung by Kris Burrit, as well as the playing of taps by Travis Smith. 

“The most important part of this day is the ceremony in the morning,” Moore said. “We will gather around the flag pole to remember the fallen of this country.”

At the conclusion of the ceremony, all of the emergency vehicles will blast their sirens officially opening the event. 

Families are encouraged to start their day at The Angry Ginger for a breakfast to help purchase Thanksgiving dinners for military families. 

Breakfast is from 7:30-11 a.m. and costs $8 a person.