HOHENFELS, Germany -- Dirndls and lederhosen were in fine fashion as Hohenfels opened its gates for the 42nd annual German/American Volksfest, April 27-May 1.

The event is intended to strengthen ties between the Hohenfels Military Community and the surrounding towns by bringing the people together in an atmosphere of fun and festivities.

"Every year for the past 42 years we have opened our front door to renew old friendships and welcome new friends into our home and celebrate the outstanding partnership between our communities," said Lt. Col. John J. Strange Jr., U.S. Army Garrison Hohenfels commander. "We're proud to be members of the Bavarian community."

Children swarmed the many rides or lined up to win various prizes at the assorted game booths. Four year old Paul Platzack who traveled from a small village near Kalmunz proudly brandished the red, white, and blue inflatable bat his parents won for him. His parents, who are German citizens, said they were excited to visit Hohenfels and the fest.

Hohenfels Elementary School second grader Deniz Kesoglu said she was enjoying the rides, especially the trampolines.

"You can jump so high," she said. "I almost did a flip on it."

The fest featured live bands and DJs nightly, tours of the training area in German, a fireworks extravaganza, as well as the largest display of military vehicles the fest has ever seen, thanks in part to generous support from the Germany Army.

"Normally, they send two combat vehicles. This year they sent six," said Christopher D. Koivisto, USAG Hohenfels Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Training chief of operations. Additional vehicles included an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, a refueling vehicle and a cargo transport.

Other displays at the fest included Classic cars, and Harley Davidson motorcycles.

Hohenfels Mayor Bernhard Graf offered a special welcome to Strange and to Col. Jeffrey Martindale, Joint Multinational Readiness Center commander as this was the first German/American Volksfest for both of them.

"The motto of this fest is German American friendship, so I would like to have a beer with you and have a good time at this fest with our friends," he said.