The darlings of Fox News will take over downtown St. Pete Wednesday night as they host the first-ever Fox Nation 2019 Patriot Awards at the Mahaffey Theater. Fox’s national subscription service will celebrate patriotism and honor law enforcement, first responders and military personnel.
Pete Hegseth, the emcee of the event, said the idea for the Patriot Awards came as a response to the many mainstream Hollywood award shows, which he described as “a bunch of actors, musicians and self-important types giving each other awards.”
“It has turned a lot of people off to what award shows are,” said the FOX & Friends Weekend co-host.”We’re celebrating a lot of vapid pop culture stuff, as opposed to holding up what we believe to be far deeper and more important like patriotism and love of country. Fox Nation decided to do our own award show that has nothing to do with Hollywood, nothing to do with movies, music and the media and everything to do with loving this great country that we have the honor of being citizens of.”
Numerous awards will be presented during the event, including the Patriot Award for Service to Veterans, Most Valuable Patriot (MVP), Patriot Award for First Responders, Patriot Award for the Unsung Hero, The Most Patriotic Sportsman and the Ultimate Patriot Award. Travis Maus, a Tampa police officer currently on deployment with the U.S. Army in Iraq, will receive the award for First Responders.
“We just think he’s a stellar example of service in both capacities,” said Hegseth. “You’re not going to hear any politics at the Fox Nation Patriot Awards, this is just about celebrating America and I think that’s refreshing. We’re being very intentional about that … It’s going to be a neat night of revealing so many cool ways in which regular Americans give back to their country.”
As an Army veteran deployed three times to Afghanistan and Iraq, Hegseth says he was a natural choice to emcee the event. Hegseth holds two Bronze Stars and a Combat Infantryman’s Badge for his time in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Hegseth said the St. Petersburg-Tampa area was chosen for its history and background of first responders, law enforcement and the military. He also mentioned that the concentration of Fox News and Fox Nation supporters and subscribers played a role in choosing the location.
Other well-known Fox News personalities will join the event as well, including FOX & Friends co-hosts Brian Kilmeade, Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and many others. Country music singer/songwriter John Rich will perform, and the Duck Dynasty cast will also be on site.
“They’re patriots, that’s what it comes down to,” said Hegseth of the celebrities. “People who in their music, their activities, their own lives, have used their own platform to celebrate America.”
The event will live stream on FOX Nation and air on Fox News as a special Nov. 24. All proceeds from the Patriot Awards will go to the Folds of Honor Foundation.
FOX & Friends will also be broadcast live from the Mahaffey Theater Thursday morning.