VetsFest comes to North Mankato

The North Mankato American Legion held a "mini" VetsFest.
Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 9:18 AM CDT
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NORTH MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) -Rain poured down Saturday as members of the North Mankato American Legion and the public gathered to raise money for area veterans.

Much louder than the sound of raindrops however, was the sound of music.

The Pat McLaughin Band plays at events like these across Minnesota, but this one was the first in North Mankato.

McLaughin said that the goal is to use the power of live music to reinvigorate struggling or disabled veterans.

“We’ve had a couple of mini VetsFests and the more, you know, communities that we can hit, and play for and let them know our mission statement, I think the broader it’s going to get, to where we can raise money and we can, you know we’d like to hit all five VA rest homes every year,” said McLaughin.

Rainy weather meant that much of the celebration had to be held under shelter, but that didn’t stop the community from showing their support for area veterans.

Balloon animals and face painting were available for younger visitors, and food and drink were available for all, but local veterans say that the highlight of the day was the music itself.

“I have heard nothing but positive feedback. Pat is just a fantastic musician, and he gives so much to veterans in the way of his music,” said Mike Forliti of the North Mankato American Legion.

After a day of music and fun in North Mankato, the Pat McLaughin Band will continue its tour to American Legions and VA Rest Homes throughout the state of Minnesota, hoping to in some way help each veteran they come across.

“There’s no budget for any kind of entertainment, and when we do play, they say it’s not entertainment it’s more like therapy for them,” McLaughin said.

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