FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 8, 2014) -- At the beginning of each summer, Fort Rucker hosts a variety of events to kick off the warm weather, and this year's signature event is Lake Fest.

The event is slated for May 17 at West Beach on Lake Tholocco from noon to 6 p.m. The event is open to the public.

Lake Fest is a fun-for-everyone event, and a great way to start the summer. It's also an opportunity for patrons to enjoy free swimming and fun activities at Lake Tholocco, said Brian Jackson, Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation program manager.

"Every year we have a great turnout of folks from on and off post, and people really seem to enjoy it," he said. "There are a lot of patrons that aren't aware of the fun, affordable services that (DFMWR) provides, and this event showcases what outdoor recreation and aquatics have readily accessible for not only the Fort Rucker community, but the surrounding communities, as well."

The event has several activities to keep everyone entertained, such as inflatables, giant games, a frozen shirt contest, free swimming and access to the water slides, a volleyball tournament, unique food vendors, non-motorized water sports and more.

The event caters to Families, but has always received great interest from teenagers and young Soldiers, said Jackson.

"This event is important for the Family as it is a chance to collectively relieve some stress and attend a free, fun-filled event that is very close to home," said Jackson.

Officials suggest visiting the outdoor recreation service center, Bldg. 24235, because equipment, such as canopies, tables and folding chairs for checkout are on a first-come, first-served basis. Call 255-4305 for more information on equipment. ODR is offering free use of life jackets, canoes and paddle boats to keep the party going all afternoon.

Families are always on the go -- busy with everyday activities. But Kristi Fink, DFMWR special events coordinator, said that Fort Rucker's Lake Fest helps bring Families together for a fun-filled free day at the beach.

"Two of my favorite activities are the sand castle contest and the frozen T-shirt contest," said Fink. "Building a sand castle together as a Family creates memories to last a lifetime!"