It’s not Munich, but it’s the next best thing to being there.
Don your lederhosen, hoist a bierstein and drink a prost to Oktoberfest! Fort Benning’s favorite fall tradition returns to the Uchee Creek Activity Center Friday through Sunday. The annual event captures the flavor of the world-famous “Volksfest” held in Munich each year on a somewhat smaller scale.
“We like to think we deliver all the fun without the airfare,” said Chris Wojciechowski, a member of the marketing team at the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, the post agency responsible for the festival, which is free and open to the community. Wojciechowski’s grandmother was born in Germany and moved to the U.S. after marrying a Soldier in 1955. A successful Oktoberfest, Wojciechowski said, is one that receives his grandmother’s stamp of approval.
“For her and her friends — she’s a member of the German Club in Columbus — it’s a little like home. We try to keep it real, but when all is said and done, all that really matters is that everyone has a good time,” he said. “That’s our measure of success.”
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The fun starts at 4 p.m. Friday, when the Sonnenschein Express takes the stage. Concessions, hay rides, inflatables and children’s activities will start at this time. The ceremonial Tapping of the Keg is scheduled for 6 p.m., followed by performances by Sonnenschein Express and the Mitten Wald Jodelers throughout the evening, until 10 p.m.
The annual Oktoberfest 10K Race will start at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Uchee Creek Activity Center, and the family-friendly, free 5K Volksmarch will start shortly thereafter. The cost of registration for the 10K through Friday is $25 and $35 on race day. Awards will be presented to the top three finishers in each division. Register online at www.benningmwr.com.
Oktoberfest weekend events and attractions also include pontoon boat rides, hayrides, a pumpkin patch, a children’s activity area, traditional German foods, various bands and the very popular Doggie Doppelganger (dog/owner look-a-like), Hot Dog (best costume) and Clever Canine (best trick) contests. You will find a complete schedule of events at www.benningmwr.com.
Vendors will accept only tokens, which can be purchases on site or in advance for $1 each at MWR headquarters on Eckel Avenue. Tokens are fully redeemable.
For more information, call 706-545-3328.