Upcoming Fort Rucker event promises to colorfully soar
March 14, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (March 14, 2013) -- Attendees of this year's Children's Festival can expect to see brilliant colors from thousands of kites, decorated eggs, inflatables, crafts and games that will be featured at the Easter event that celebrates and showcases military children.
The festival is the celebration kickoff to Month of the Military Child in April. It's an opportunity to celebrate and honor the young military heroes, the military children, in the most colorful and fun way, according to Janice Erdlitz, Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation marketing director.
"Our military youth show incredible strength in their daily lives. We often forget the impact the military lifestyle puts on a child. The Children's Festival is our thank you to the service our youth display daily in their lives as military children," she explained.
The free event will be held at the Festival Fields March 23 from 1-4 p.m. and offers plenty of activities for the entire Family to enjoy. Activities include inflatables, a magic show, crafts, kite flying and even a baby race.
The third annual Diaper Derby is open to all crawling babies no older than 15 months and will be held on physical fitness mats under a canopy where racers will be safe.
More than 4,000 people are expected to attend the ninth annual Children's Festival where more than 14,000 plastic eggs will be stuffed and hidden for children's amusement, and where a festive, white rabbit just might make an appearance for photos.
"This is going to be one of the biggest [festivals] in Fort Rucker history," said Kimberly Abeln, DFMWR annual events coordinator. "New to this year's event are a trackless train and a special guest appearance that you won't want to miss."
Patrons will be able to build paper kites, while supplies last, and are encouraged to bring kites from home as the egg hunt field will turn into a kite flying field from 2-4 p.m.
The Easter egg hunt is the signature piece of the event where children can win all sorts of prizes, according to Erdlitz, who added that a special area will be available for children younger than 3 to hunt eggs.
"There will be 50 regular prize tickets hidden within the eggs in each of the four egg hunts, which can win anything from crayons and magic tricks to books and puzzles. There will also be two grand prizes per egg hunt and winners of these will receive anything from remote controlled helicopters to digital cameras," said Abeln.
The egg hunt times are divided by ages. Ages 0-3 can pick up their eggs at the Diaper Derby tent throughout the day, ages 4-6 will begin their egg hunt at 1:30 p.m., and ages 7-9 and 10-12 will each have half of the egg hunt field at 1:45 p.m. For safety reasons, adults and strollers will not be allowed on the field during the egg hunts.
Though the festival caters to children 0-12 years of age, all ages are welcome to enjoy the event, according to Abeln.
"There will be multiple crafts and activities for children to choose from throughout the day. Kids can participate in beading, painting, sand art, giant games and many other interactive booths," she said. "In addition, there will be a magic show at 2 and 3:30 p.m. and the Warrant Officer Career College will be hosting a confidence course for those kids with a sense of adventure."
The festival is a great event to kick off Month of the Military Child, according to Abeln, because it is a Family-friendly event where Families can spend time together while having fun.
"DFMWR strives to provide Soldiers, civilians and their Families a quality of life commensurate with their service and sacrifice. One of the many ways we accomplish this is by providing [events like the Children's Festival.] This festival is one of my favorites," she said. "I love organizing and implementing events that create lasting memories for our Soldiers and their Families."
Because Fort Rucker doesn't have a large deploying population, Erdlitz said it is the perfect event for Families.
"The entire event is geared for Families and celebrating our military youth. It's one of the big events where a complete Family unit can attend together," she said adding that officials at DFMWR want the focus to be on military children.
The Pinwheels for Prevention Family Fun Run/Walk will also take place March 23 as part of Child Abuse Prevention Month. The run begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Facility. Registration the day of the event is free and will be held at 9 a.m. Participants can run or walk to take a stand against child abuse and then join the fun at the festival.
Multiple food vendors will be serving a variety of food and drinks for purchase at the festival. There will also be a few merchandise vendors for patrons looking for a unique gift.
If there is inclement weather, the event will be moved to the Fortenberry-Colton Physical Fitness Facility. People can check out the event's Facebook page for event updates.