Great barbecue, a live band and Rozzi’s Fireworks are only a few of the highlights from the annual 4th for Our Soldiers event in Burlington, Ky.

Started as a small event 11 years ago with only family and friends, 4th for Our Soldiers has grown in many different ways since then. This event takes place every year on the weekend closest to the Fourth of July, raising money and honoring soldiers along with their families for the sacrifices they make every day.

Mitch Kotzbauer, this year’s event spokesman, says the event initially started as a group of people making care packages to send to soldiers overseas. However, the prices for packaging and sending care packages became too expensive. “We decided that this was our opportunity to start hosting an event to raise money for the soldiers,” says Kotzbauer.

Its popularity has spread throughout Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati over the years. One Kentucky business, Chas. Seligman Distributing Co., has been participating since the start. “We have been a part of this event since the beginning; my husband works with Mitch who helped start it in 2005,” says Gail Peace, sales manager. “This is a fantastic event to be a part of. It’s a community event that gives back to the soldiers and also gives great exposure to us as well.”

Aside from the fun and food, scholarships and support grants are also a significant part of 4th for Our Heroes. Since 2013, scholarships have been provided to graduating high school seniors whose lives have been affected by their parent’s military service. Chas. Seligman created two scholarships for the event for the past two years, giving the recipients $5,000 each in 2016, says Peace. Then, in 2014, support grants were included to be given away for military and first responder families. “We are a financial-driven charity,” says Kotzbauer. “All of the money we raise is 100 percent given back to support the troops and their families.”

This year’s 4th for Our Heroes event entry price was $10, which included drinks including beer, dinner from Cincinnati’s well-known Eli’s Barbeque, a concert featuring the band DV8, a military tribute video with a guest speaker and fireworks serving as the grand finale. Families, friends, neighbors and communities arrived at 4 p.m., the start time for the backyard party, and stayed into the late hours of the night after the fireworks concluded.

“It’s continuing to grow each year, and we always hope to see new faces at our event each year,” says Kotzbauer. “We just want people to know that this is an affordable, fun and family-friendly event for all.”

Peace says Chas. Seligman is honored to be a part of such a great community event for anyone and everyone. “We are proud to support this event,” she says. “We are proud to support all of the troops in the military, their families, and those who have been wounded or killed while serving our country.”