Oktoberfest offers entertainment, games, camaraderie
The Sonnenschein Express "Oompa" band performs at the 2011 Oktoberfest at the festival fields.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (September 20, 2012) -- Oktoberfest, the traditional German cultural festival, will take place Sept. 28 at the festival fields at 4:30 p.m. and is open to the public.

The partnership between the United States and Germany is an important one and this celebration acknowledges its significance, said Kimberly Abeln, annual events coordinator at the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

"Oktoberfest is a fun evening to be spent with friends and Family that includes carnival rides, music and more," she said.

Fort Rucker celebrates Oktoberfest with German music provided by Sonnenschein Express, an "Oompa" band, and Abeln said the event has expanded more and more every year. This year 3,500-4,500 patrons are expected to attend.

"Oktoberfest has expanded over the years to include crafts for children, games and competitions such as a Keg Toss and barrel rolling challenges, rides and activities such as a zip-line and a mechanical bull, and a variety of food and merchandise vendors. This year we have expanded the event even further to include an opening ceremony by [Maj. Gen. Kevin W. Mangum, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker] the commanding general, at 5 p.m., pony rides, petting zoo and a radio-controlled race track activity where patrons can race their cars to the finish line," she said.

The event coordinators want patrons to spend time with friends and Family during the event, and think it will be a great opportunity for building morale and camaraderie.

"There are exciting activities for all ages and some great vendors. This is going to be one of the biggest and best Fort Rucker Oktoberfests' to date. Sonnenschein Express entertains us from 4:30-9:30 p.m. They are a great Alpine band that likes to get the crowd involved. You can expect to do the Chicken Dance and sing along to some traditional favorites," said Abeln.

Admission to the event and live music are free. DFMWR will host inflatables, and a children's craft and game area. Prices will vary for food, merchandise, pony rides, petting zoo, R/C car racing and rides. ATMS will be on site.

Different organizations and facilities will host child-friendly activities for both young children and teens.

"This event is definitely kid friendly. There will be a pumpkin patch where kids can purchase a pumpkin and then paint it for free at the DFMWR craft tent. The physical fitness facility will host games, which include a sack race for the younger ones and the older kids can participate in the other games offered, with parental consent," she said.

One of DFMWR's primary concerns is patrons getting home responsibly, so steps have been taken to ensure that Soldiers and Families are safe.

"There will be signs posted on the field with alternate ways to get home on post and The Landing provides a free shuttle service to on-post housing and the on-post hotel also has a free shuttle. For those who live off post, we will have taxi cab numbers at the command post, which will be located next to the entertainment tent that patrons can utilize. We invite those who have had too much to leave their cars overnight (they will not be towed) and utilize alternate means of transportation to their final destination. The Directorate of Public Safety will be on site during and following the event to help in our efforts to deter driving under the influence," said Abeln.

Page last updated Thu September 20th, 2012 at 11:33