Country Jam to kick off with performance from Chris Kroeze and Salute to service members

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The Country Jam music festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Along with a lineup of big names heading to the Chippewa Valley, this year Country Jam is also putting a focus on saluting those who serve our country.

Country Jam's official start is set for Thursday, July 18th. As part of Thursday's schedule of events, Country Jam is honoring military members, firefighters, emergency personnel, and others with the Salute to Those Who Serve Program. Country jam has partnered with several local veterans organizations to put together a program that includes onstage tributes, a military flyover and more.

As a prelude to Country Jam's official kick off, Barron native and “The Voice” runner up Chris Kroeze will perform Wednesday night, July 17th at a special Country Jam anniversary celebration along with Dawn Marie.

As Country Jam focuses on saluting those who serve this year, Chris Kroeze's recent tour did the same with an overseas performance for troops. Kroeze's tour photographer, Kyle Lehman was with the singer overseas in June and says it was a great experience. "As a photographer it was great to see the troops respond as well as they did. They were excited, they were singing along, and getting to hear 100 plus troops singing we're proud to be an American ... it vibrated the tent that we were in,” said Lehman.

Festival Foods in Eau Claire is giving away free tickets to Kroeze’s July 17th Country Jam performance with a purchase of a 12 pack of Leinenkugel craft beer. The giveaway is happening July 11th only at Festival Foods on Birch street from 11am to 1pm, Mall Drive from 2pm to 4pm, and Clairemont Avenue from 5pm to 7pm.