Military, Veteran & First Responder Appreciation Day

Presented by Cricket Wireless


Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Brought to you in part by Cricket Wireless, proud partner of Military, Veteran & First Responder Appreciation Day

Join us for a day full of fun for the whole family in honor of our Military, Veteran & First Responder personnel, complete with special exhibits, interactive activities and entertainment.  Guests will enjoy a Dinner 911 Cooking Challenge at Save Mart California’s Kitchen, while representatives from military and first responder organizations will provide valuable resources and special displays.

Military, Veteran & First Responder Appreciation Day focuses on paying gratitude and celebrating the individuals and organizations that keep our country and communities safe.

For a day revolved around immense appreciation, we invite active duty, reserve and veteran personnel from all branches of the military as well as active members of law enforcement, firefighters and first responder units to enjoy FREE Fair admission. Active duty military spouses and dependents are also included in FREE admission on this special day.

Request your free tickets through Veteran Tickets Foundation at or First Tickets at You must create a new or use an existing account.

Alternatively, veteran, military personnel and first responders may present valid military ID, proof of service, or ID showing active first responder status at the California State Fair Admission Gates.

Schedule of Events

Gates Open

Parade starts, ending at the Promenade Stage

Parade Participants:

  • Cal Expo Chief of Police’s Humvee, with:
    • Chief Walton
    • CEO Tom Martinez
    • Treasurer Ma
    • General Robert Hipwell
  • Camp Smokey Firefighters + Smokey the Bear
  • Poppy
  • Girl Scouts Heart of Central California Color Guard
  • Casa Roble High School JROTC
  • CA State Fair AMR
  • Sacramento County Sheriff’s Mounted Enforcement Unit

Performance by Journey Revisited

Opening Ceremony, featuring:

  • Emcee: Matthew Ceccato- Deputy Chief of Staff for Congressman Ami Bera and Combat wounded Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • Blessing by: Reverend Jeff Henry- Senior Catholic Priest for 60 Air Mobility Wing, Travis AFB
  •  Flag Presentation by: W.H. Nichols Folsom League Marine Corps Color Guard
  • Pledge of Allegiance led by: Girl Scouts Heart of Central California Color Guard
  •  National Anthem Singer: Breona Calvert-Technical Sergeant US Air Force
  • Speech by: Tom Martinez – CEO – General Manager, California Exposition & State Fair
  • Speech by: Fiona Ma- California State Treasurer
  • Speaker: Max Baumgartner-Past Sacramento Stand Down President
  • Demonstration by: Sacramento Fire CERT
  • Speaker: Joe Pick-Director of Firefighters Burn Institute
  • Presentation by our sponsor: Cricket Wireless
  • Speaker: Robert Hipwell-Major General US Volunteers -America, Brigadier General US Army (Ret.)
  • Speaker: Lieutenant Colonel Alec Lange, U.S. Army Reserve (Retired)
  • Presenter: Staff Council Charles Taylor, presenting on behalf of State Controller Malia M. Cohen

REACH Helicopter landings at the Main Gate Loop Front Lawn

Close of Opening Ceremony

  • The Star-Spangled Banner performed by lead guitarist & keyboard player for Journey Revisited, Val Popovic & Kevin Jachetta

Journey Revisited performance

Journey Revisited

US Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco Flyover

MH-65 Echo Helicopter out of US Coast Guard Air Station SF

Wildland Firefighter Memorial unveiling at Camp Smokey

Special Evening Ceremony honoring The 50th Anniversary of the End of the Vietnam War, The 75th Anniversary of Women Veterans Day & The 75th Anniversary of the Desegregation of the U.S. Armed Forces, featuring:

  • Emcee: Matthew Ceccato- Deputy Chief of Staff for Congressman Ami Bera (Combat wounded Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom)
  • Blessing by: Chaplain Norm Powers- Law Enforcement Chaplaincy Sacramento School Programs Coordinator
  • Flag Presentation & Pledge of Allegiance by: Girl Scouts Heart of Central California Color Guard
  • National Anthem Singer: Juliet Kennedy- VFW Auxiliary Dept of California Soloist for 2023-2024
  • Presentation by: Virginia Wimmer- Deputy Secretary, Women Veterans Affairs
  • Speech by: Melissa Washington- CEO & Founder Women Veterans Alliance, Navy Veteran
  • Special Honoree: Marge Wheeler
  • Speech by: Paul Reyes- Gunnery Sergeant US Marine Corps (Ret.)
  • Speech by: Andy LePeilbet- First Lieutenant Infantry US Army
  • Speech by: Will McClure, Dir. of Small Business Development, CA Black Chamber of Commerce, 1SG U.S. Army (Ret.)
  • Speech by: Steve Spriggs-AUSA SGM Jon Cavaiani Chapter, President & Veterans Committee Chairman, Sacramento Elks Lodge #6
  • Armed Forces Medley by Bagpipes performed by Chuck Jamison
  • 12:00 pm Buffalo Soldier-David Jones
  • 2:00 pm National Anthem, American Drill Team and Trick Riders
  • 3:00 pm Buffalo SoliderK9 Police Dog Show (cops and robbers)

Please be a part of this special day!


Application Deadline: Friday, June 30, 2023


POLICY: One of the fundamental responsibilities of the California Exposition & State Fair (Cal Expo) is to protect the public. In 1998, Cal Expo implemented a policy requiring that all persons conducting business with, employed by, or volunteering at Cal Expo shall provide the necessary personal information to enable their names to be searched through the Department of Justice’s Megan’s Law files. This file consists of records of individuals convicted of specific sex offenses who are required by Penal Code Section 290 to register as sex offenders.

This form must be completed legibly, with all information requested, or it will not be accepted. Typewritten forms may be substituted but must contain the same information in the columnar form and be attached to this form and including names of the person/company, on each page. Submit the information promptly to the Cal Expo Personnel Office prior to the event.

**sworn officers and active military are exempt from the process.**

Download a  Megan’s Law form below, fill it out, and upload it with your application.

Megan's Law Single Applicant Megan's Law Multiple Applicants

Here are more opportunities to participate in the fun!

  • Dinner 911 Cooking Challenge
  • Professional Chef Challenge
  • California Junior Chef Cooking Challenge
  • Postal Service Cooking Challenge
Cooking Challenge Details

Thank you for your interest in performing at the California State Fair Military, Veteran and First Responder Appreciation Day.

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