HEIDELBERG, Germany -- One thousand hot dogs were needed to feed the crowd Saturday at the Heidelberg Family Festival, sponsored by the Child, Youth and School Services, while children and the young at heart played games and soaked up the sun.
For 20 years, CYSS has hosted the event in conjunction with the Heidelberg International Wandering Club\'s Kiddie Volksmarch, which has been marching along for more than 25 years.
The two events are held the last weekend in April as a capstone event for the Month of the Military Child, where the Army recognizes and applauds "families and their children, who are everyday heroes, for the daily sacrifices they make in supporting America's Army," according to the Army Morale, Welfare and Recreation Web site.
"It's all for the kids," said Stephanie Morales, outreach services director, Child, Youth and School Services.
For 280 children the day started off with a 5-kilometer walk around Patrick Henry Village with certificates and prizes awaiting them at the finish line.
The prizes, ranging from medals to stuffed animals, toy trucks and steins, were donated throughout the year by other German volksmarching clubs and by members of the local club.
"We want to introduce the kids to the German volksmarching tradition," said Rob Floyd, vice president, HIWC.
It also provides the club with a means to advertise themselves and start preparing and gathering volunteers for September's annual Heidelberg volksmarch.
After the walk families wandered over to the PHV park behind the library and were treated to lunch.
Hot dogs, baked beans and corn on the cob, were all served on environmentally friendly dishes, which were washed for reuse by members of the USAG Baden-WAfA1/4rttemberg Environmental Division.
"People really appreciated that," Morales said.
CYSS provided several activities for the kids ranging from modeling clay and edible jewelry to bubbles, bouncy activities and games.
The event, as part of the Army Family Covenant, supports military families and keeps getting bigger and bigger every year, according to Morales.
This year the Girl Scouts Senior Troop 65 handed out books and movies and staff from Army Community Services provided information on child abuse prevention.
The day's events were just one more way USAG Heidelberg is "Saluting Everyday Heroes" during the Month of the Military Child.
(Editor's Note: Jason Austin writes for the USAG Baden-WAfA1/4rttemberg newspaper, the Herald Post.)