To be held at the Adairsville Middle School stadium, the festival's entertainment lineup will be ongoing from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Featuring a wide range of vocalists, from Babe's Bayou to Three Minutes to Fame, the event's most notable performer will be Grammy award nominee John Berry, who will take the stage from 9 to 10:30 p.m. Southern Vets Fest also will include two speakers: retired U.S. Army veteran Steve Newman at 3:30 p.m. and Jimmy Sites, host of "Spiritual Outdoor Adventures," at 7 p.m.
The event's website, www.southernvetsfest.org, encourages people to "join us in beautiful Adairsville, Ga., as we honor those who sacrificed and dedicated their lives to protect our country, remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, and reunite veterans with their fellow service members. We will give everyone in attendance the opportunity to thank each veteran present for the event. Yes, we have Memorial Day and Veterans Day, but those are government holidays, and SVF is a much more personal event. All veterans will be recognized during the activities, and we will also pay tribute to active duty military, police officers, firefighters and EMT personnel."
Proceeds from the event will go toward the Northwest Georgia Homeless Veterans Foundation and a portion will benefit the Three Rivers Program of Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry. With the event expecting to draw about 2,000 people, the NGHVF will be a step closer to building a facility to help homeless veterans.
"In the beginning, this event started out as a Vietnam veterans tribute and after some consultation with some other people we changed it to a full veterans event," said Tim Godbee, director of Southern Vets Fest and NGHVF's president and founder. "We realized hopefully it would be a good amount of funds raised from the event. So [in the process] we realized the homeless veterans problem is much worse than we thought it was originally. When you look at it, there's approximately 107,000 homeless veterans anywhere in the country on any given night in the U.S. We realized that's something we needed to focus on and try to work with.
"The main goal for the [organization's] future is to have a facility here locally in northwest Georgia, preferably in the Adairsville area, that we can bring in homeless veterans, give them a solid place to stay while we help them rehabilitate through counseling if they need it, medical treatment, get them connected with the VA and then work with them ... [to] find jobs in the area, let them get re-established [and] help them save their money to where hopefully within less than a year they can be back on their own in their own residence and have their own vehicle."
With the event's daylong focus on veterans, local servicemen and women are encouraged to participate in the opening ceremonies at noon.
"All veterans that are there before noon will be asked to join us in the opening ceremonies with a walk in," Godbee said. "[During events like this] they feel like they're appreciated more. It gives them a chance to spend a day knowing that they are the focus of the event."
Tickets are $20 on the day of the event and $15 in advance. For more information, visit www.southernvetsfest.org.