Oktoberfest celebration helps lift spirits
“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.
“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.”
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.