By Amber Martin

Garrison Public Affairs Office

FORT CARSON, Colo. - Light snow showers and chilly temperatures kicked off the Fort Carson Color Fest and Creative Arts Festival in true Colorado Springs fashion as approximately 2,500 participants gathered April 13, 2019, at the Iron Horse Sports and Fitness Center.

The Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (DFMWR) and Mountain Post Living (MPL) put together a family event that included an Easter egg hunt, bounce houses, 5K Color Run, petting zoo, obstacle course and more.

"This is a spring-themed and very colorful event," said Sarah Rumpza, special events coordinator, DFMWR. "We have a creative arts festival, which is part of Mountain Post Living. A lot of fun awareness booths people can check out, and we also have a lot of creative things: music therapy, rock painting and various crafts for people to check out. Those are free activities that are new to Color Fest (this year)."

In keeping with the colorful theme, the 5K Color Run began at 10:30 a.m. where runners were promptly hit with the first spring color, pink. Five stations were staged along the run route, which looped participants through the color stations twice, ensuring everyone got a good dose of color. Kelsey Garis, Fort Carson Family member and spouse of Capt. Kyle Garis, commander, 22nd Human Resource Company, 4th Special Troops Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, came in first place on the run covered from head to toe in pink, yellow, blue and green.

"The run was really fun," said Kelsey Garis. "The weather was actually nice; I like running in the cold. We came out today because I wanted to run, and we wanted to have fun with our daughter ... it's just fun to be able to spend time with one another and get to know other Families."
For those participants who weren't as fond of the cold, there were plenty of fun booths indoors to check out at the basketball courts. Booths were hosted by the Army Wellness Center, Evans Army Community Hospital, the Family Advocacy Program, MPL, Fort Carson Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Prevention Program (SHARP), the Rocky Mountain Vibes and more.

"The awareness booths kind of go into that (color theme) because each awareness booth has a different color associated with it, for example, SHARP is teal," said Rumpza.

"It is a way to bring awareness to important issues through color."
Sarah Roth, Fort Carson Family member whose husband is currently deployed, and her son Eli, enjoyed the various activities and instruments at the 4th Infantry Division Band's booth.

"I came out today to keep my son busy while daddy's gone and enjoy the fun," said Sarah Roth. "Events like this are important to bring Families together. It's hard to have one parent gone, (but) you meet new friends at these kinds of events."

Amber Gonzalez, Fort Carson Family member, and her husband brought their five children to enjoy the festivities. The Family enjoyed the hula hoops, balloons, and face painting while waiting for the Easter egg hunt.
"We thought this would be fun for the kids to be able to do," said Gonzalez. "I really enjoy these events because the kids can all be together, and we can enjoy Family time. It's something we can all do together and not all places have something like that."

The month of April includes Easter and celebrates the Month of the Military Child, and also brings awareness to sexual assault and prevention. The Fort Carson Color Fest and Creative Arts Festival seemed to have a little bit of everything for everyone.

"We wanted to support Fort Carson and be a part of the military community and hang out with military Families," said Kelsey Garis.
"To have some fun in the midst of the chaos that we sometimes have as military Families."