Summertime HeroFest comes to Riverfront Park June 12

By Jody Conrad | Special to the Press Gazette

One of the joys in living in a small town is attending family-friendly festivals. This coming Saturday, from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., one of those fun festivals will take place in downtown Milton.

Brian Zelden, owner of the marketing business Zelden Home and Business Solutions, is also an event coordinator. He spent a good deal of his career organizing large-venue concerts until he realized that giving back to the community in the form of family fun was more appealing.

HeroFeast coordinator Brian Zelden poses for a photo with sponsor Kelly Swort of K & B Cafe in Milton.

Zelden and branch manager Gisset Diaz of The Coastal Funding Corporation in Pensacola have coordinated event sponsors and participants for this Saturday’s HeroFest.

“We’re living in a difficult climate right now and many are experiencing tough economic times,” Zelden said. “To that end, we’ve organized the HeroFest to encourage others to come and show their support for all of the things that small towns have to offer, like mom and pop businesses and non-profits that support various aspects of our community, regardless of the economic climate.”

Gisset Diaz (right) poses for a photo with Nancy Prevot of the HER Foundation.

The goal of HeroFest is to raise awareness and contribute prize money to several local non-profit organizations.

Organizations that will be on-site and recipients of prize monies include the HER Foundation, which assist homeless female vets; Navy Marine Corp Relief Society, which works with active duty families; Defenders of Freedom, which offers suicide prevention to vets; We Defy Foundation, which offers free jiu-jitsu training to vets; Young Marines, which trains youth in life skills; Career Center Escarosa, which helps vets find jobs; and Navy League of Santa Rosa.

The marquee event of the afternoon will be a “Chopped”-style food truck competition. 

“Regardless of what the trucks offer as fare, be it dessert waffles or soul food, they will need to combine their fare with three secret ingredients, which I will give them. Then a panel of local veterans will serve as judges, and the completion continues until we have a winner,” Zelden said.

This flyer list some of the events taking place at HeroFest on Saturday.

Some of the food trucks that will make an appearance include the Waffle Boutique, Texan B’s, RJ Tashy Plates, Mo Waffles, Who Cut the Grilled Cheese, and Greek Gal’s Funnel Cakes and More.

HeroFest is a free event that will offer waterslides, bounce houses, a spicy chili and a pie eating contest, and lawn games.

“All of the activities will be free,” Zelden said, “so come out and enjoy a day of family fun and support your community.”