By Angela Williams, Army Flier Staff WriterMarch 22, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Mar. 22, 2012) -- There's no doubt about it. Fort Rucker's Children's Festival, coming up March 31, is just for kids with a schedule that includes a giant Easter egg hunt, magic show, petting zoo, inflatables, crafts, games and flying kites.
"It's an opportunity to celebrate and showcase the military child," explained Janice Erdlitz, Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation marketing director.
This year's festival will start at 1 p.m. on the festival fields. The egg hunts, scheduled according to age group, will begin at 1:30 p.m. Other activities such as kite flying and a magic show will follow, with the festival wrapping up around 4 p.m.
"This year's egg hunt will be bigger and better than ever with more than 16,000 eggs being laid out on the hunting field," said Kimberly Abeln, DFMWR annual events coordinator, adding that for safety reasons, adults and strollers will not be allowed on the field during the egg hunt.
Children under the age of 3 will have a separate area for their egg hunt near the diaper derby tent, she said.
"The signature piece of the event is the Easter egg hunt," added Erdlitz.
One of the new events this year features former Olympian and jump rope expert Buddy Lee. From 2-3 p.m., Lee will host an interactive jump rope activity that is open to all ages, including parents, said Abeln.
Several other new additions are based on this year's theme of "Up, up and away." Children are invited to bring kites from home or make a kite while they are at the festival. After the egg hunt, the field will be cleared for flying kites. A bubble world and mini parachute craft are also inspired by the theme, she said.
Though the whole festival is planned for children, there is at least one activity for the parents. Erdlitz said three local car dealerships will have vehicles to test drive at the festival.
"This festival is one of my favorites," said Abeln. "I love organizing and implementing events that create lasting memories for our Soldiers and their Families."
This year, the Children's Festival marks the start of the Month of the Military Child, a time set aside to recognize the struggles military children face and contributions they make to their Families.
Because Fort Rucker doesn't have a large deploying population, the festival is one of the big events a complete Family unit can attend together, said Erdlitz.
"We really want the focus to be on military children," she said. "The festival is totally children oriented."
Last year, about 4,000 people attended the Children's Festival. Erdlitz and Abeln expect an even bigger crowd this year. All the games, crafts and activities are free, but some food and craft vendors will have items for sale at the festival.
"It is a low-cost and extremely fun way to spend an afternoon with friends and Family," said Abeln.
For more information about the festival, call 255-1749.