By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterJanuary 25, 2018
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Those daydreaming of breaks away from everyday life can explore affordable vacation opportunities at MWR Central's Fort Rucker Travel Extravaganza.
The event is scheduled for Feb. 6 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at The Landing. The event welcomed more than 1,000 patrons and 51 vendors last year, and Karen Key, acting MWR Central business manager, anticipates a similar showing this year.
"We are extremely excited because not only has the community shown tremendous interest in the event, but we are welcoming our new MWR Central Business manager, Deaunqua Bryant," she said
According to Key, 50 vendors will be present at this year's event. Those vendors range from hotels, convention and visitor centers, amusement and water parks, dinner theatres and destination locations.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for Soldiers and their families to see what is available to fit their travel needs," she said. "All of the vendors are bringing door prizes and information for their areas."
Several online sites offer the ability to find vacation opportunities or deals on hotel rooms, but Key said the Travel Extravaganza puts every piece of the vacation puzzle under one roof.
"The goal of this even is to show some of the amazing, hassle-free and affordable travel options that MWR Central can help to provide," she said. "It will also show the community all that MWR Central has to offer.
"It is important to offer events like the Travel Extravaganza so that people know what options are available to them," she added.
Key suggests attendees arrive early to secure parking and take advantage of everything the event has to offer.
"The doors open at 10 a.m.," she said. "The vendors are coming from all different locations and have a lot of exciting information to offer. Make sure you plan to attend this event. Arrive early so you can spend time visiting each booth and seeing everything this event has to offer.
"We have a passport scavenger hunt game we will hand out to each person at the door," she added. "The passport shows all of the vendor logos and as you stop by each booth attendees get them initialed. Completed passports are turned in and used as entry to our door prize raffles. The door prizes range from free hotel night stays, gift baskets, amusement park tickets to a grand prize that you won't want to miss out on."
Sharon Filler, civilian from Enterprise, attended last year's event with her husband, Mason, and said she loves to browse the different vendors to get an idea of what her next vacation destination might be.
"I feel like a lot of times people will do the same vacation year after year, so it's always nice to get new ideas," she said during last year's event. "When you're stuck in the same place for a long time, you don't really start to see past your own front yard, so it's good to get some external perspective on what we might be able to get into, what we can afford and what we might not have thought of.
"We normally take vacations to the mountains in Tennessee because we love the outdoors and my husband is basically a mountain man," she continued," but I think this time we'll try something different, like a cruise or something, because it's always nice to be able to broaden your horizons and try something new -- you never know what you might really enjoy."
Although the prospect of being on a giant ship in the middle of the ocean didn't seem ideal to Mason, he said he'd be open to the idea of something new.
"I can't say it would be my first choice of a vacation, but this does give us a good chance to see what ways we can change it up a bit," he said. "I might have to warm up to the idea of the cruise, but I'm open to exploring my options, and I think this is a really good place to be able to do that."
MWR Central's goal is to offer savings to the Fort Rucker community, and will continue to do so with not only the Travel Extravaganza, but their upcoming day trip opportunities, as well, Key said. "Feb. 10 we will be hosting our annual Mardi Gras day trip to Mobile, our second annual Spring Break Getaway cruise March 24-29 and we have a trip planned to visit the Florida caverns in Marianna on April 14. Everyone interested still has time to purchase tickets and join us!"
For more information on the Travel Extravaganza or upcoming day trips, call 255-9517 or 255-2997, or visit http://rucker.armymwr.com/us/rucker/.