SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Soldiers and family members broke out their lederhosen, feathered hats and appetites for Oktoberfest 2008, at Sills Field, here, Oct. 3.

More than 3,000 people enjoyed the German feast of bratwurst, spatzle and sauerkraut, in addition to traditional music and games.

"This Oktoberfest is dedicated to the 25th Infantry Division and the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team and all the troops preparing to deploy from Hawaii," said Col. Matthew Margotta, commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii. He also recognized redeploying Soldiers.

Several teams competed for Hale Koa gift certificates and other prizes in games such as the Beer Bat Relay, Schlagel (Stick) Pull, Beer Jug Relay, Fastest Beer Chugging Contest, Queen Stein Carrying Contest and a dance competition.

The Village Musicians from Maui provided authentic polkas, waltzes, marches and schottisches collected in Germany and Switzerland, and of course, the "Chicken Dance."

Soldiers and families took advantage of the opportunity to relax and have fun before deployment.

"It's an opportunity to get out of uniform and forget about work for a little while," said Staff Sgt. Jose Cardenas, A Company, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment.

"Oktoberfest here is especially good because my wife is German," said Staff Sgt. Blake Gibson, B Company, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment.

Mandy Gibson agreed, saying it was the best Oktoberfest she'd been to since she's been in the U.S.

In addition to providing free tickets to deploying Soldiers and their families for the festival, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (FMWR) arranged for a designated driver program. Several vans were available to take guests home throughout the Oahu Army community.

"We were happy to get free tickets and have the chance to attend this friendly family event," Cardenas said.

"Safety is our priority," said Jack Weirs, marketing director, FMWR.

The original "Oktoberfest" began in Munich, Oct. 12, 1810, to commemorate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria (later King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen.

Page last updated Thu October 16th, 2008 at 14:27