FORT CAVAZOS, Texas — After donning their lederhosen and dirndls, Soldiers, family members, civilians and veterans alike came together to celebrate and enjoy German festivities during this year’s Oktoberfest, which took place Oct. 21 at the Phantom Warrior Center.
The event itself featured rock painting, music from the 1st Cavalry Division Band, music from the TubaMeisters, pumpkin picking, local vendors to shop from, food trucks, games and more.
Oktoberfest is traditionally held in Munich for two weeks in late September and early October. These popular celebrations, which feature beer and German food, are an attempt to reproduce the Bavarian sense of gemütlichkeit. It is arguably one of the most famous German concepts, as the word encompasses sensations of coziness, contentment and warmth. Fort Cavazos’ event was no different.
While attendees could enjoy beer and food, the true festivities kicked off following the ceremonial keg tapping. The honor this year went to Maj. Gen. John Richardson IV, who is currently serving as the special assistant to the III Armored Corps and Fort Cavazos commanding general, Lt. Gen. Sean C. Bernabe.
Prior to the keg tapping, Richardson shared a few thanks with the crowd.
“I want to thank our sponsors and our local community supporters for what you all do each and every day for our Soldiers and families,” he said. “Your support for events like this truly improve the quality of life for our Soldiers and their families. And so, for that, I wanted to say thank you on behalf of General Bernabe, and Command Sergeant Major (McDwyer). I also want to recognize and thank our MWR volunteers.”
Richardson then took a moment to share a story that would set the stage for the actual keg tapping.
“So, this is my first time tapping a real keg. This is old school,” he shared, the crowd already laughing. “I just left (General Bernabe’s) house and he was stationed in Germany, and he did this a couple of times. And, he says if you mess it up, you get run out of town in Germany. So, let’s all cross your fingers so that you guys aren’t chasing me out of here.”
While there were a few moments that he struggled, in the end, Richardson pulled it off and successfully tapped the keg.
With the festivities then in full swing, the crowd moved outside to enjoy the stein-hoisting contest for men and women. Holding the large stein, filled with water, straight out in front of them, without leaning back too far or bending their arms at all, provided a challenge for everyone. Baylee Keller, a spouse, won the women’s competition, and Sgt. 1st Class Gustavo Guiterrez, 8th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, won the men’s competition.
Elias Enciso, a veteran who served 20 years in the Army, and Linda Santos, a veteran who served eight years in the Marines, chose to attend the event because Enciso had been stationed twice in Germany and they wanted to celebrate German music and the culture.
Santos shared that it was important to have events such as Oktoberfest on the installation “to support the different ethnic groups and the cultures of bringing everybody together.”
Encisco agreed, saying, “So people learn more about (the culture), especially when the new Soldiers that are stationed here, are lucky to go to Europe. They will relate, (it) will be much easier for them.”