By Mr. David Mcnally (RDECOM)October 15, 2008
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - Blue skies, crisp autumn temperatures and a community ready to celebrate combined Saturday to create the biggest event of the year. Yongsan hosted nearly 5,000 visitors to the 2008 Yongsan Fall Festival Oct. 11.
The day started with a parade from the commissary down X Corps Blvd. to the intersection near the fire station.
"This was a fantastic way to celebrate the fall season," said USAG-Yongsan Commander Col. Dave Hall. "We brought together our Korean neighbors, American Servicemembers, Civilian Employees and our great Family Members. Our community really showed a lot of spirit today."
Parade participants from the Yongsan motorcycle club to Korean horseback riders in historic costumes entertained the crowds with candy, performances and smiles.
"The parade really set the tone for the entire day," Hall said.
As many as 2,000 Americans attended the Fall Festival, and Garrison officials issued nearly 3,000 day passes to Korean citizens.
The all-day festival was one of the best attended events of the year, said Mario Farrulla, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation acting director.
"Our Fourth of July celebrations are usually successful, but, when you consider today's weather and the great list of entertainers and the thousands of people who attended the Fall Festival, this has turned out to be the best event of the year," Farrulla said.
Officials closed down Williams Ave. along side Collier Field House and set up booths, tents, picnic tables and a festival stage.
Private organizations, like the Veteran's of Foreign Wars and private vendors, such as Outback Steak House, sold food and beverages. The Army and Air Force Exchange Service Food Court had one of the biggest food tents. FMWR had another big tent offering Commiskey's Restaurant delicacies.
Medical personnel took blood pressure, offered health assessments and information about community programs and TRICARE health coverage.
The Garrison also held a Retiree Appreciation Day with a dinner and free dental checks.
At the festival site, community members could get custom balloons and face painting. Children jumped on inflatable castles and trampolines with support from Better Opportunities for Single and Unaccompanied Soldiers.
Local civic organizations, like People-to-People, New Seoul Chapter donated money to support the event.
"Aside from the money donated by PTP, we received excellent support from big-name Korean singers," said USAG-Yongsan Community Relations Officer An Chang-sin. "The groups all performed for free. This was very popular with the crowd."
Korean singers Son Dam-bi, Solbi, Moon Ji-eun, The Name, The One, BGH 4, Gavy Queens and Holladang gave a free concert from 5-7 p.m. at the festival stage.
The 8th U.S. Army Band gave a fitting climax to the day with a musical performance leading into a "spectacular" fireworks display over Lombardo Field.