FORT RUCKER, Ala. (November 7, 2013) -- Marshmallows, stories and moonlight await those warm blooded enough to face the chilly fall weather Nov. 16 when Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation hosts the third annual under the stars camping event.

Camping Under the Stars will be held at West Beach, Lake Tholocco as part of Month of the Military Family. The event will begin at 4 p.m., and is an all-night opportunity for the military community to come together and enjoy a night of relaxation and Family fun, according to Kristi Fink, DFMWR special events coordinator.

"November is the Month of the Military Family, and we do the best we can to show that Family needs are important to us, even during trying financial times," she said. "We can't wait to see the smiling faces and happy Family members at Lake Tholocco."

New at the event this year is a petting zoo from 4-8 p.m. and the showing of "Monster's University" and "Turbo" on an inflatable outdoor movie screen.

At 7:30 p.m., Col. Stuart J. McRae, garrison commander, will read the story "Click, Clack, Moo- Cows That Type" as part of the Tell Me A Story program. Children can get a free copy of the book while supplies last by calling 255-9812.

"We're really excited about having a petting zoo this year at the event. With such a fun story being read to the kids, we thought it would be even more magical by bringing in a petting zoo. We're also having face painting for the kids. It should be a very fun evening for kids of all ages," said Janice Erdlitz, DFMWR marketing director.

The event is free and open to all military identification card holders. The festivities will be held near the gazebo on West Beach. Families are encouraged to stay all night to enjoy the hot cocoa, coffee, campfires and s`mores.

"If patrons are going to campout, then they should bring all those necessary items for camping. But if you're just coming out for the main activities of the evening, then I'd suggest only bringing blankets and lawn chairs. We think we've done a great job of making this event a fun, easy time for Families," said Erdlitz.

The camping experience is an opportunity for those who might not get to camp out often or are not experienced campers. This is a chance to learn how to camp in a safe, comfortable area and to expose children to the idea of camping while making the experience fun and stress free, said Erdlitz.

The outdoor recreation office has tents available for use free of charge at the event. Anyone interested in using a tent should call 255-9810 to reserve one while supplies last.

"Each year it's getting bigger and better. It provides the perfect opportunity for Families to share an evening under the stars," said Erdlitz. "This provides the perfect opportunity for our Families to spend quality time together. Camping out is such a unique experience and we're excited to be able to offer this opportunity."

With Soldiers and Families holding steadfast through these difficult times, DFMWR said they have earned everyone's continued support, and a night of giggles and enchantment.

"We're excited to be able to continue to provide quality entertainment and recreational activities. We recognize and appreciate the commitment, contributions and sacrifices our military Families make for our nation," said Erdlitz.