Organized by Delaware's 22in22 initiative, Vet Fest will be held Saturday, Oct. 14 from noon to 4 p.m., in the Town of Whitehall, 801 Mapleton Ave., north of Middletown. Leading up to the festival, a motorcycle rally will begin at Minquadale Station 22 at 10:15 a.m., arrving at Whitehall at 11 a.m.
The group "22in22" has announced its second annual outdoor music festival, Vet Fest, to honor Delaware’s veterans and active duty military while drawing a focus on the epidemic of soldier suicides.
This event, organized by Delaware’s 22in22 initiative, will be held Saturday, Oct. 14 from noon to 4 p.m., in the Town of Whitehall’s Mapleton Square, 801 Mapleton Ave., north of Middletown.
The day will include a motorcycle rally beginning at Minquadale Station 22 (in keeping with the 22in22 theme), departing at 10:15 a.m. and arriving at Whitehall at 11 a.m.
At 11:30 a.m., the State Police Pipe and Drum Band will proceed to the event, led by the Delaware Wing Civil Air Patrol Color Guard. Veterans are encouraged to march along and will be directed, at the event. A variety of military and mental health organizations along with civilian groups plan to attend.
The creator of the 22in22 initiative, Jacob DiSabatino, stated, "We are very excited to layer the Vet Fest onto our 22in22 initiative. This all started when local bands volunteered their time to help raise awareness and monies for our vets. From there, things took off. We brought in the participation of Station 22 from Minquadale, garnered volunteers from the Delaware National Guard, and dozens from the local civilian and military communities."
At noon, the festival will start with a performance by community singers The Imagination Players. The musical lineup also includes local favorites Sam Smick, Davey Dickens Jr. and the Troubadoors, and Blue Cat Blues.
22in22 was started in 2015 by DiSabatino while he was a junior at St. Mark’s High School as a way to draw awareness to the epidemic of soldier suicides. According to 22in22, approximately 120,000 have died at their own hand since Sept. 11, 2001 while less than 5,000 have died from enemy fire. DiSabatino, now a sophomore at The Citadel, chose the organization Stop Soldier Suicide as his partner and together they have been able to raise $20,000 in Delaware and $100,000 nationally.
The initiative asks participants to log onto www.give22.com to either join a team, create a team, or simply donate. If they choose to participate, they can create an activity for 22 straight days, raise awareness about the epidemic via #22adayis22toomany, and collect funds on the site. Participants run, walk, do yoga, pray, lift weights, or walk dogs.
Delaware Technical and Community College joined the cause in 2015 and has all three campuses participating annually.
Vet Fest organizers suggest that people arrive prior to 11 a.m. if they’d like to see the motorcycle parade. Bands begin at noon. Food and beverage vendors will be on hand.
Suggested donations of $5 to $20 are requested for admission.
This is a rain or shine event.