By Spc. Amanda McBride, 4th IBCT, 3rd ID, Public AffairsMay 14, 2009
GLENNVILLE, Ga. - Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division's 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team marched their brigade's Colors through downtown Glennville to the beat of the Division Band and the applause of local residents.
Led by Vanguard Brigade Commander, Col. Lou Lartigue, the 4th IBCT Color Guard and 3rd ID Band took part in the 33rd annual Glennville Sweet Onion Festival, May 9.
"Today was an excellent opportunity for Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield and the 3rd Infantry Division to show their pride in being part of a community that's celebrating exactly that, their community," Col. Lartigue said.
"Events like this are great for both the local community and the military community to share in the feeling of support and camaraderie that we have in building an environment that allows our Soldiers to live and prosper both on and off duty, while they're deployed or at home, and that cares for their Family."
The day started off with an early morning run. Prior to the parade, the Sweet Onion Run and Walk gave Soldiers and community members the chance to compete in a one-mile and a five-kilometer race. Following the parade, the Vanguard Color Guard opened the event's festivities with a ceremonial Casing of the Colors.
This year's event marks the 33rd year in which the 3rd ID and Fort Stewart have supported the Glennville Sweet Onion Festival by providing division leadership, a Color Guard and marching band. When the Marne Division is deployed, rear detachments step up and show their support.
The festival, held every second Saturday of May, celebrates the harvesting of the famous Vidalia sweet onion crop. The crops harvested from Tattnall County contribute to approximately half of the state's crop each year.
The Sweet Onion Fest featured attractions for all age groups, including an opportunity for community members to feast on hamburgers, hotdogs, snow cones, cotton candy and crowd favorite sweet onion rings.
The festival also included rides and games for children, including face painting, rock climbing, reverse bungee jumping, pony rides, a giant slide, a carousel bounce house and a goldfish game.
Corporal James Vaughn, assigned to Company A, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th IBCT and member of the 4th IBCT Color Guard, said the event was well worth waking up early for.
"It's nice to always go somewhere where you are appreciated," he said. "It makes you feel good about being a Soldier. To see the smiles on the kid's faces and waving to them and talking to them a little bit, I think makes it all worth it."
Tattnall County has partnered with the Vanguard Brigade to help foster good community relations with the Soldiers.
"The community here is very supportive of the military and likes to share in their good times with the military when they have the opportunity," Col. Lartigue said. "Our participation here is a way to thank (the community) back."