Event provides unique Halloween experience
November 1, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (November 1, 2012) -- Hundreds of Family members were greeted with fair weather and the spirit of Halloween as they visited the Fort Rucker Riding Stables for the Children's Fall Festival Oct. 26.
The festival featured games, prizes, and horse and pony rides for Families to enjoy during the riding stables' take on Halloween.
"Every year we try to incorporate the Children's Festival into Halloween," said Aida Diaz-Carter, business manager for the community recreation division. "We try to do a flip on the Halloween thing for the children. Instead of giving candy we give prizes and toys for the games, and since we do Fright Night for the older crowd, we want to make sure we do something for the 12 and younger crowd."
The event was open to the public, and military Families as well as civilian Families came out to enjoy the festivities.
"It seemed like a nice day to go out and enjoy the area with the kids," said W01 Robert Tolas, B Company, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment. "We came out here last year and it was a blast, but the [children] were a little too young to do anything and this year they can."
Jeremiah Jackson, civilian, attended the event with his wife, Jennifer, and two daughters, Suzanna and Julia, and were all returning because of last year's festivities.
"We came out to the Children's Fall Festival last year and had a great time, so we decided we wanted to come out again," he said.
"We love the games, the pony rides and the costume contest," said Jennifer. "We also did the fishing games and we're heading to the bouncy houses next, but we really enjoy the costume contest at the end. I hope we have a chance to win, but it doesn't matter who wins -- everyone's a winner."
The Jacksons' didn't have to worry about not being a winner as Suzanne took second place in the costume contest dressed as a pirate. The other winners included: Chase Dodge, military Family member, who took first place for his costume dressed as a baby bum, complete with a sign that read, "will work for candy;" and Salisa Wellenreuther, military Family member, who was dressed as a female Frankenstein.
"I thought the costume contest was the cutest thing ever," said Jana Scott, civilian. "I loved all of the costumes that were up there and I just thought it was great to see all these Families get together and be creative with their children."
"I think it's absolutely awesome all the stuff that they have for the kids out here," said Tolas. "My son has been having a blast doing everything out here and we've all just had a great time in general -- I think it's an amazing setup."
Diaz-Carter said what also helps makes the Children's Fall Festival so amazing is the fact that it is run completely with volunteer help by civilians and Soldiers from the different units on Fort Rucker.
"Everyone you see out here [working the games] and everything are all volunteers," she said. "We can't do any of this without the volunteers -- the Soldiers that have helped us. We know that they have classes and everything, but they've supported us with Fright Night and the Children's Festival."
Throughout the festival, ticket purchases were made by attendees in order to play games or ride the horses and ponies, and all of the money raised goes directly back into the riding stables, said Diaz-Carter.
"The money raised with the ticket sales will all come directly back to the riding stables, so that we can provide more programs and things like this for our patrons -- the military community," she said. "The turnout today has exceeded anything that I could have imagined -- it's been really great."