Snowball Express moving to Cowtown for this year's military heroes feteJune 3, 2014
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Snowball Express in downtown Fort Worth in 2013
By Scott Nishimura
Snowball Express, the annual event held for families of fallen soldiers, is moving its base to downtown Fort Worth for this year’s five-day remembrance.
The event will be based Dec. 11-15 at the Omni, Sheraton and Hilton hotels, and the Fort Worth Convention Center, said Buck Kern Snowball Express’ executive director.
Snowball Express, founded in Southern California in 2006, moved its operational base to Dallas in 2009. Fort Worth has had a major role in years past, including hosting parades and concerts at the Stockyards. Last year’s parade culminated at the new Sundance Plaza downtown, where throngs of locals showed up to express gratitude despite frigid temperatures.
“The response was terrific,” Kern said.
Kern said about 1,800 family members can be expected in town. The event starts when American Airlines crews - the airline donates the planes and the crews, their time - hop from city to city, pick up families, and ferry them to D/FW Airport.
Two of the hotels will house families, and the third volunteers, Kern said. Family lounges and other amenities Snowball Express typically provides at the hotels will be located at the Convention Center, Kern said.
Snowball Express is in the process of arranging major pieces of the event, including the parade, ranch day, concert, and talent show, Kern said. The Fort Worth Zoo, host of a Snowball Express event last year, has offered to do the same, Kern said.
Kern said one of the original ideas behind Snowball Express was to move its base every few years for the change in perspective. Signing American Airlines as a lead sponsor was a major factor in moving the event to DFW.