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Vets Call Non-Vet Floats "Slap in the face"

Updated: Friday, August 15 2014, 09:45 AM CDT
Veterans Day at the State Fair is for veterans. That's the complaint one veterans organization has following this past weekend's Veteran's Parade at the fairgrounds.

After the state fair's twilight parade was canceled last Thursday, fair organizers stuck several of the floats into the veterans day parade. For at least one group, that was a slap in the face.

"I said, 'yeah, we're not going to do it.' It's disrespectful to the veterans who are out here," said Jim Sodaro, the Italian American War Veterans' senior vice commander.

Following the Twilight Parade's cancellation on Thursday, fair organizers gave seven award winning floats a second chance for a parade by adding them to the Veterans Parade on Sunday. But that didn't jive with the Italian American War Veterans, which pulled its 30 or so marchers in response.

"It's our day on this fairgrounds, and they're going to throw all these other floats into this parade," Sodaro said.

Watching from the sidelines instead, Sodaro said he and other vets were upset that floats with no bearing on veterans were in the parade.

Referring to the mix of veterans and floats as "a joke," Sodaro asked, "You know, what's Elmer's Glue got to do with Veterans?"

Sodaro said at least one other group pulled out, too, but Newschannel 20 was unable to confirm that with any other veterans associations.

State Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick said she she didn't receive any complaints from the Italian American War Vets or anyone else.

"In fact, all I heard was compliments on how much better the parade was this year, because it was bigger. It was better, and they enjoyed the floats," Bliefnick said.

As for the parade being veterans only, Bliefnick says that's not the case.

"It was a parade on Veterans Day to help recognize the veterans, but it's part of the fair overall," she said.

Sodaro is adamant theVeterans Parade on Veterans Day is for veterans and veteran themed floats.

"The Department of Ag, the state fair manager, whoever, owes the veterans an apology," Sodaro said.

"You know, my phone number's public," Bliefnick said when asked about an apology. "They can call me if they have an issue that they want to discuss."

Sodaro said he thinks the Twilight Parade should have been moved to another day to avoid having to move them.

Bliefnick, however, said the Twilight Parade is just too big and too long to reschedule.Vets Call Non-Vet Floats "Slap in the face"


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