2013-10-11 / Front Page

Oktoberfest celebration helps lift spirits

By Nick Spinelli
Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office


Pfc. Luke Harding and Pvt. Kelvin Felton, both with the 369th Signal Battalion, check out a 2009 Harley-Davidson Tri-Glide during an motorcycle and car show on Rice Road sponsored by the Fort Gordon Better OpporSee tunities for Single Soldiers. 
Photo by Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Pfc. Luke Harding and Pvt. Kelvin Felton, both with the 369th Signal Battalion, check out a 2009 Harley-Davidson Tri-Glide during an motorcycle and car show on Rice Road sponsored by the Fort Gordon Better OpporSee tunities for Single Soldiers. Photo by Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Despite the concern raised from the then-looming government shutdown, the Fort Gordon community felt its spirits lifted during the annual Oktoberfest celebration held Sept. 26 – 29 on Barton Field.

“At a time when the federal budget crisis has created great anxiety and stress in our community, we think it’s even more important to hold these events when we can,” Col. Samuel Anderson, Fort Gordon Garrison commander, said.

The festivities included a presentation on the German holiday’s origins (dating back about 200 years, in Munich, Bavaria) and an amusement-park atmosphere, with “fair food” and an assortment of rides and games. Setting the event to music was a Texas-based group, Terry Cavanagh and Alpine Express, to accompany the beer, bratwurst, sauerkraut, and other Deutsch-style staples.


Tori Gelino, from Tulsa, Okla., performs “Run,” a song made popular by George Strait, as she wins first place in the Operation Rising Star competition Oct. 4 held on Barton Field. 
Photo by Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Tori Gelino, from Tulsa, Okla., performs “Run,” a song made popular by George Strait, as she wins first place in the Operation Rising Star competition Oct. 4 held on Barton Field. Photo by Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs “They’ve performed at this event before and have always been extremely popular with our Oktoberfest audience,” Molly Swift, Fort Gordon Family, Morale, Welfare, and Recreation marketing specialist, said.

In addition to the other events and activities, Oktoberfest was also the location of the finals for Fort Gordon’s Operation Rising Star completion.

“Our seven finalists performed as part of Oktoberfest; we had a great turn out and great participation,” said Steve Walpert, Fort Gordon entertainment director. “We had some really talented people on stage, but the winner was Army spouse Tori Gelino. We hope she will be one of the finalists selected for the Army-wide finals.”


The Wacky Worm plummets as riders grin, giggle, and throw their hands-up in the midst of the Oktoberfest attractions Oct. 5 on Barton Field. 
Photo by Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs The Wacky Worm plummets as riders grin, giggle, and throw their hands-up in the midst of the Oktoberfest attractions Oct. 5 on Barton Field. Photo by Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Some have questioned why, during a government shutdown, would the installation spend money on a festival. However, Anderson explained that the Oktoberfest celebration was paid for through non-appropriated funds and didn’t cost the post anything.

“Those funds are generated by the fees charged to use recreational and family facilities on post. As such, Oktoberfest is not affected by the lapse in federal appropriations,” he said.

In fact, the Oktoberfest celebration may have actually raised money for the installation as DFMWR received income from the various vendors and concessions that set up shop during the event. Any money raised will be used to support future NAF events and activities.

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