Easter came a week early for some military Families living and working at Fort Rucker.

Several hundred children showed up for the annual Children's Festival and Easter egg hunt at the Fort Rucker Festival Fields Saturday. They came to enjoy a variety of activities, but the top one on most people's minds was the Easter egg hunt.

"We haven't been here long, but seeing something like this put together for the military Families makes us feel good about being here," said Erin Barrs, military spouse and mother. "We came to see everything, but it's the Easter egg hunt that's number one for us."

In addition to the Easter egg hunt, Families were able to enjoy a petting zoo, magic show and a variety of food and games.

Kimberly Abeln, Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation annual events coordinator, said the event has grown in size every year and is one of her favorite things to plan.

"I think this is one of the biggest Children's Festivals we've had yet," she said. "The teamwork and camaraderie between the different DFMWR staff is really different for us and is what I love the most about it. We sit in our own offices and don't get to mingle with other staff, so this gives us all a chance to work together."

The festival also served as another Month of the Military Child event, Abeln said. Sometimes military children can get lost in the conversation about what it means to take care of those affected by deployments and moves, but things like the festival can bring them to the forefront and remind people how important they are.

"Military children need support when their parents are gone," she said. "There's nothing harder than being in the military. We do our best to make it easier for them."

While many children and parents were excited about the Easter egg hunt, Abeln said she was most interested in the petting zoo, which had never been done at the festival before.

"I saw all the baby animals, like baby chicks, being placed as they were setting up and it was just precious," she said. "I can't wait to have the chance to go over there myself and see it."

Brian Jackson, DFMWR Recreation Delivery System program manager, said the event has grown and expanded to accommodate more children each year and this year is no different.

"We added a larger area for the Easter egg Hunt to make it easier for more children to be involved," he said. "This event is a great way for Families to come out and have a good time and we're trying to make it as easy and relaxing as possible for everyone."