A decade of honoring military


Staff writer

Thousands of people will march to Kitsap Mall this Saturday to see what the local military is all about.

Kitsap Mall is hosting the 10th annual Military Appreciation Day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 29. Previous Military Appreciation Days kicked off with the bunny breakfast, but with Easter now passed, the mall decided to honor the Individual Augmentee (IA) service members and their families.

“We decided that this year we’d do an IA breakfast,” said Yvonne Tomascak, Kitsap Mall spokeswoman.

IAs are sailors who support another Navy, Marine Corps or Army command. Sailors’ IA assignments vary in length from a few months to a year or more. Once they finish their assignments, they return to their current or “parent” command.

The private breakfast is a way to say thank you to IA families and each family will receive a goodie bag with gifts from local businesses. Michael’s and Home Depot will do crafts with the children at the breakfast. Tomascak said she expects 50-100 people to RSVP for the breakfast.

The Kitsap Humane Society will host an adoption outreach and low cost micro-chipping clinic at Military Appreciation Day. The animal shelter will be set up in the north parking lot of Kitsap Mall. Famous Dave’s Legendary Pit Bar-B-Que also will be set up outside letting the public sample its award-winning ribs.

An Army helicopter will be on display in the Kitsap Mall parking lot. The helicopter will fly up from Fort Lewis and be on display throughout Saturday’s festivities.

“Just having the outdoor element will get people out here,” Tomascak said.

Naval Base Kitsap Military Working Dogs will show off their skills, Navy divers will display some of their equipment and Navy Band Northwest will play some tunes at Military Appreciation Day. Other groups, such as the Kitsap Chordsmen and Clan Heather Dancers, will take to the stage and entertain the crowds flowing through Kitsap Mall Saturday.

Marine Security Force Company (MSFCo) Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor will host its second annual mini boot camp for children from kindergarten to eighth grade at Military Appreciation Day. Last year was the first time they hosted the event and Tomascak said people call Kitsap Mall on a regular basis to ask if the children’s boot camp will be back.

There will be military shopping discounts and drawings for prizes throughout the day. Some of this year’s prizes include an overnight stay in Leavenworth and a flat-screen television. Select vendors also will come to Kitsap Mall and offer goods and services to the thousands in attendance.

Tomascak said last year’s Military Appreciation Day drew about 25,000 people to Kitsap Mall, but with this Saturday’s weather forecast looking sunny, she expects to top that number.

“I think we’re going to beat that this year because the weather’s supposed to be nice,” Tomascak said.

Military Appreciation Day

Saturday, March 29

11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Kitsap Mall

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