More than 3, 300 Fort Bragg youth and Family members turned out Saturday for the 20th Annual Fort Bragg Children's Fest. The event, which is held each April as part of the Month of the Military Child celebration, featured various amusement park rides, arts and crafts, static military displays and useful information.
Gudrun Blackmon, Fort Bragg Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation returned as the event's coordinator. She said she was pleased with the level of participation and support.
"We have tons of great sponsors who have supported us. We also have a great staff, the Child and Youth Staff is out here supporting. We have static displays from the military. When these Soldiers help the kids, it's amazing the way they interact with them," Blackmon said.
Blackmon said this year's attendance was about the same as previous years and many attendees came out to enjoy the amusement park rides, which serve as a prelude to the upcoming Fort Bragg fair, which will open May 3.
"The turnout looks good so far. We usually get between 3,000 to 3,300 attendees for the day. This our 20th Annual Children's Fest, in honor of Month of the Military Children, which takes place in April of each year," Blackmon said.
She pointed out that this year's festival featured random drawings, which allowed attendees to win prizes, such as iPods and other cool products. She said the fest also received valuable support from employees from each of Fort Bragg's nine child development centers. According to Blackmon, this is the one time each year that they all get to work together in one location.
For Samantha Brazzle and her Family, the Children's Fest has become an annual event for the past four years. She said it allows them to spend quality time together.
"It's great that we can come out and spend some time with our Family," she said.
Rhea Brazzle, 5, said her favorite attraction was the giant slide, which she was able to enjoy with her mother. "I like it because it's fun," she said.
"It's really nice. They have arts and crafts, education for the parents, rides and the foods. It's really good, something better than taking your kid to Chuck E. Cheese's every weekend," said Patrice Tucker, who brought her daughter, Sabria, 3, to the event. Sabria said her favorite ride was the Giant Tea Cups.
Tia Spriggs also attended with her Family, including daughter Shayla, who took time to enjoy the harness slide, which was manned by a group of paratroopers.
"We are definitely enjoying it," Spriggs said of her Family's first visit to the event.