By Franklin Fisher (Benning)October 11, 2019
FORT BENNING, Ga. -- Fort Benning is once again putting up the big fest tent and getting out the lederhosen for its annual Oktoberfest here Oct. 18-20, a celebration that features traditional German food, music and contests, as well as races, a Volksmarch, and lots of other fun for adults and kids alike.
Oktoberfest will be held at Uchee Creek Activity Center on the following schedule:
- Friday, Oct. 18: 4-10 p.m.
- Saturday, Oct. 19: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and
- Sunday, Oct. 20: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost is $5 for adults 18 and older. It's free for children accompanied by an adult.
Pets are allowed.
Music will be performed by a band, Sonnenschein Express, a yodeling group called Bavarian Yodelers, and by Fort Benning's Maneuver Center of Excellence Band.
Sonnenschein Express is an Orlando, Florida-based show band that specializes in the traditional folk songs and instruments of the Alpine region, according to the band's website. Their performances include the accordion, cow bells, carpenter's saw, shoe slapping, wooden laughter, or alpine xylophone, and yodeling.
On sale from food vendors will be such popular varieties of German food as schnitzel, bratwurst, Landjäger, Meterwurst, kraut, as well as red cabbage, potato salad, pretzels, and such familiar American cookout items as chicken, fries, corn dogs, hamburgers, barbecue and turkey legs. There'll be desserts too: cookies, cakes, crepes, funnel cakes, kettle corn, candy apples and Italian ices.
There'll also be German draught beer that Fort Benning has imported from Germany exclusively for its Oktoberfest. The brew will be available in three varieties, along with various American beers.
Children's activities include a petting zoo, pony rides, camel rides, a Ferris wheel, tea cups, a merry-go-round, pontoon boat rides, hay rides, as well as hair-coloring and face-painting, a quad jump, pumpkin patch, library activities and inflatable bounce houses.
For adults 21 and older are games and contests that include corn hole, keg-rolling, keg-tossing, stein-hoisting, a stein relay and Nagelbalken. Dog competitions are scheduled too.
Also on the program is a 10-kilometer Cross Country Challenge, a 5-kilometer Family Fun Run, and a Volksmarch.
For the 10K, registration is $30, and for the 5K, $10. Registration is at Smith Fitness Center, or online at Active.com. There is also registration at the site on race day, at a charge of $40 for the 10K and $20 for the 5K. Registration is from 7-8:45 a.m. on race day. The race starts at 9 a.m.
The Volksmarch is free and requires no registration. Kids in strollers and pets are allowed in the Volksmarch. It starts after the 10K starts.
All three events are open to the public.
But those taking part in the 10K and 5K runs will be given free entry on Oct. 19 if they show their race bib after the race.
One of the most popular events at Fort Benning's Oktoberfest is the stein-hoisting contest, which is open to the public.
This year's contest runs Oct. 18 and 19, and times are listed online at: https://benning.armymwr.com/programs/oktoberfest under "Hoist a Stein, Win 500!" It's open to novices only, and contestants must be 21 or older and pay a $20 entry fee. Men compete against men, women against women.
A liter beer stein that weighs about 3.5 pounds when empty, filled to the lip with water must be gripped by the handle and with the contestant's arm extended, held so steadily that no water spills or drips off the stein.
The winner receives $500 in cash.
A Best Dirndle and Lederhosen, and a Best Yodeler contest are scheduled for Oct. 19 under the Fest Tent, and are open to those 18 and older. No registration is required for any of the three contests.
The Best Dirndle and Lederhosen contest is scheduled for 6:20 p.m. A prize of $500 each will be given for the Best Dirndle and Best Lederhosen.
The Best Yodeler Contest follows at 8 p.m. Best yodeler wins $500.
Oktoberfest will also feature a giveaway of a 2019 car Oct. 20 at 3:30 p.m. The giveaway is open only to active duty service members and their family members, 18 and older. Registration is online: www.surveymonkey.com/r/2N9989P. Deadline to enter is Oct. 17 at 9 a.m. Registrants must be present to win.
Also on Oct. 20 is a non-denominational Crossroads Chapel Service, from 11 a.m. to noon.
Oktoberfest vendors accept only tokens for purchase of food and beverages. Unused tokens can be redeemed for full value.
Wristbands and tokens are available Sept. 16 to Oct. 18 at Fort Benning in Building 85 on Barron Avenue; at Outdoor Recreation, on Gillespie St.; at Tickets & Travel inside the post commissary; and at the Uchee Creek Country Store. They can also be bought at the event.
Weapons of any kind are prohibited, and bags are subject to search.
No outside food and beverages are permitted at Oktoberfest. Also prohibited are grills and cook tops.
Civilians do not need a post access pass to attend Oktoberfest if they use the Highway 165 entrance to Uchee Creek.
Shuttle bus service is available to military ID cardholders, inside Fort Benning to and from Oktoberfest but only on Oct. 19. Pets are not permitted on the shuttle.
The shuttle schedule is online at https://benning.armymwr.com/application/files/8815/7012/9939/benning_bus_schedule.pdf.
A full schedule of events and other information on Fort Benning's Oktoberfest is available online at https://benning.armymwr.com/programs/oktoberfest or by calling 706-545-3328.