By Sam Campbell (Leonard Wood)March 21, 2019
The 24th annual Month of the Military Child Community Fun Fair is set to take place 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 6 at the Child Development Center, Bldg. 615, and the School Age Services Center, Bldg. 616, both located on Replacement Avenue.
The theme of this year's event is "Down on the Farm," paying homage to the installation's rural proximity.
"We have people willing to bring animals in," Fun Fair Coordinator Barbara Ratcliff said. "I think that will be a big hit for the children."
Among the animals expected to make an appearance are cows, pigs, sheep and alpacas, according to Ratcliff.
In addition to a livestock meet and greet, there will be farm-themed activities such as barnyard tic-tac-toe.
"(Children can) also make animal masks," Ratcliff said.
The fair will be preceded by the Mad Hatter Parade April 5, where children fashion hats in front of the Child Development Center.
Along with the 399th Army Band, a color guard will lead the parade.
Both events are designed to honor the Month of the Military Child, which brings awareness to the unique difficulties military children may face.
"We bring that to light all month long and we do it in a celebratory fashion," School Liaison Specialist Bobbie Petersen said. "We try to lighten the (mood) and educate."
According to Ratcliff and Petersen, organizations such as Army Community Service will be in attendance to provide services and educate parents.
Petersen added that organizing the annual fair brings her happiness as well.
"I love watching parents with their kids most of all, because they don't often get to have that free time and built-in activities already there for them," she said. "So, if we can provide the activities, the food, the fun for them and all they have to do is show up, that just makes my heart swell."
"They just get so much out of it and have a good time," she said.
In addition to a free lunch provided by the USO, the event is free of charge and open to all.
"You just have to come in, go to the visitor's center, get yourself a day pass and just tell them you're heading to the community fun fair," Petersen said.
For more information, please visit Fort Leonard Wood's FMWR Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mwr.ftwood/ or contact Ratcliff at 573.596.4302 or firstname.lastname@example.org.