Oktoberfest: Event gives taste of Deutschland
October 3, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (October 3, 2013) -- A little German culture stopped by Fort Rucker's Festival Fields Sept. 27 when more than 4,500 people attended the 11th annual Oktoberfest, featuring vendors, live music, children's activities, games and food.
Attendees experienced German culture as they heard the language spoken as much as English, and people from all aspects of life could be seen mingling together at the same table enjoying drink specials and bratwurst.
Dogs of every shape and size got into the action as well, but Dachshunds seemed to be the stars of the event.
"It was a great Family event," said Kristi Fink, Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation special events coordinator. "It is a great way for Families to come out for the Family-friendly version of Oktoberfest."
Fort Rucker celebrated with German music provided by Sonnenschein Express, an "Oompa" band; crafts for children; inflatables; a dunk booth; games and competitions, such as sack races and barrel rolling challenges; pony rides; and activities, such as a zip-line, a mechanical bull and merchandise vendors.
The festival is always growing, and this year a new feature was added.
"The Volkswagen Show and Shine showcased vintage Volkswagens ranging from the 1950s to the 1970s," said Fink. "All the VWs have been restored and are local. Some are even decorated. People seem to be enjoying it."
The partnership between the United States and Germany is an important one and this celebration acknowledges its significance, said Fink.
"The United States is made up of so many different cultures, and I believe celebrating those differences makes us more united and gives us a new perspective into other traditions around the world," she said.
The music and dancing was a focus for many Families attending the event, but others enjoyed the opportunity to have either a Family night or a date night out.
"I appreciate the post putting something together like this for Families to enjoy and for friendly camaraderie," said Capt. Arthur Clymer, A Company, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment. "I try to take advantage of Family nights because you never know when you might be taken away from home. Time at home is very valuable to me and any time I can spend doing something special with them is always worth it."
"We wanted to have a date night because (my husband's birthday) is coming up and we are both always so busy," said Lorraine Brown, Army spouse. "I love that Fort Rucker hosts different heritage events all year long, because it gives everybody a broad range of how other people live and what they eat."
One little girl said her favorite part of the festival was the food and the inflatables.
"My favorite thing so far is the trampoline, but I like jumping in the bounce houses and eating cotton candy and funnel cake, too," said Katie Ellis who demonstrated her backflip skills on the trampoline.
Clymer said he also enjoyed the cultural traditions that the children were being exposed to.
"Events like this are great ways to educate my children on other cultures. Seeing the costumes and eating the food can open the door for conversation," he said.
Organizers of the event were proud that it went well and that the weather was perfect for the occasion. Attendees were even happier.
"I am so glad the weather turned out so nice," said Brown. "It is calm and there are no bugs and the temperature is great."