FORT LEWIS, Wash. - Are you suffering from winter blues' Does spring seem a little too far around the corner'

The Fort Lewis Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation is inviting the military community to get out and enjoy a day of free pampering, giveaways and entertainment. Rain or shine, it promises to be a good time.

"Operation Care Fair - Body Strong, Mind Strong, Spirit Strong," drew more than 200 people during its debut last year, and is expected to attract even more this year. The entire event - including food - is provided at no charge to guests.

The festivities are Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the American Lake Community Center. While the event is geared toward adults, mature children (12 and over) are welcome.

"It's an opportunity for Soldiers and families to come out and have a day of lighthearted pampering," said Elizabeth Thunstedt, DFMWR special events. "This is something we're offering as a 'thank you' to those who have made such sacrifices."

It's also one way DFMWR is reaching out through the Army Family Covenant by going the extra mile to improve quality of life.

"We tried to think of something we could do for spouses that would be a really nice thing," said Kate Laverents, DFMWR special events director. "This time of year tends to be nasty outside, so people don't get out much, and we want them to get out and really enjoy themselves."

The fair will offer a variety of services including chair massages, facials, paraffin hand treatments, makeup application, reflexology, Reiki fork sessions, hair styling and more.

Parents wishing to extend benefits of the fair to younger family members can do so by learning baby massage therapy. The New Parent Support Program will be teaching infant massage techniques as a way for parents to take advantage of the growing phenomenon, which has been proven to have positive effects on both baby and parent.

The commissary will also be sponsoring a live cooking session displaying simple ways to eat healthy, and a fashion show featuring the Fresh Face Model contest winners will begin at 12:05 p.m.

Although the term pampering tends to be more closely associated with women than it does men, Thunstedt strongly encourages both sexes to come check out the fair.

"It's not a girl-intensive event," Thunstedt said. "It tends to draw more women out, but there are definitely going to be a lot of things for men to do."

Those feeling lucky will want to try their hand at winning a jewel during a diamond dig sponsored by United Services Automobile Association.

"There's going to be a big bowl of cubic zirconias with one diamond in it," Thunstedt said. "You may actually come away with a real diamond."

The giveaways are bigger and better than past events, she added, noting that each vendor this year will be giving away door prizes valued at $25 or more.

"You have a chance to win a lot of stuff, there's going to be great live music, ... it's a good mix of just about everything," Thunstedt said.

"It's a way to sort of enlighten people and let these family members know how much we care about them and how much actually goes on with FMWR for the families," Laverents said.

Laura M. Levering is a reporter with Fort Lewis' Northwest Guardian.