A heavy overcast sky and the possibility of rain Friday didn't stop more than 2,300 people from turning out for the first Military Appreciation Day at Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot.
There, the military members and their families could walk the grounds, visit the zoo exhibits and have lunch. Free passes for the Roosevelt Park swimming pool also were available.
Lunch was a big attraction. Members of the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce's Military Affairs Committee and David C. Jones Chapter of the Air Force Association, both sponsors of the event, served a meal of hamburgers and hot dogs catered by Dean Aberle of Homesteaders Restaurant in Minot.
Eloise Ogden/MDN --
Active-duty and retired military members and their families got in line for free hamburgers and hotdogs Friday during Military Appreciation Day at Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot. The first-time event was sponsored by the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Committee and David C. Jones Chapter of the Air Force Association.
Bruce Carlson, chairman of the Military Affairs Committee, looking at the long line of people forming for lunch at the zoo, said there was plenty of food and if they ran out, more was available. A semi-truck loaded with more food was parked across the street from the zoo.
"It surpassed all expectations and the volunteer help was fantastic," Carlson said. He said he didn't think so many people would attend, but they didn't run out of food.
John MacMartin, president of the Chamber, said they served more than 1,200 hamburgers and more than 1,000 hot dogs.
"It was rewarding," MacMartin said, adding that the event couldn't have been held without help from the Minot Park Board, Director of Parks Ron Merritt, Roosevelt Park Zoo director Dana Pritschet and Minot Park District staff members.
Military Appreciation Day was held to show appreciation by the Minot community to those currently serving and those who have served in the military.
"It was a way we could say thanks to the military," MacMartin said.
Carlson said they plan to make Military Appreciation Day at the zoo an annual event and already are working on plans including providing more serving lines for food so there's less waiting time for those attending.