Oktoberfest is a time for celebration and camaraderie, and this year, military servicemembers are invited to join in on the fun. The Oktoberfest on Fort Liberty will be held on Sept. 30 at the Iron Mike Conference Center. It will feature all of the traditional Oktoberfest activities, including live music, dancing, food and beer.
“We're looking to have a variety of alcohol and food. We have a certain amount of German beers as well as domestics. For the food, we're going to have our Jumbo pretzels with our world famous beer cheese sauce, and also Schnitzels, brats ... all the German style food,” said Keith Rigby, Deputy Director of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
The kick off to Oktoberfest will be a Volksmarch (non-competitive walking). The Volksmarch will start and end at Iron Mike Conference Center beginning at 11:30 a.m. Food, beer tents and bounce houses will open at 12 p.m. A live polka band will be playing two to three sessions throughout the day. There will also be a raffle going on throughout the afternoon and evening, giving out prices once an hour.
The Fall Market will be open during the afternoon as well. The market will be located inside the Iron Mike Conference Center. There will be at least 13 vendors on-site offering different items, perfect for anyone wanting to get holiday shopping done.
“There will be a variety of vendors in there. Selling anything from popcorn to laser engraving, to Oktoberfest goods, as well as crafts and supplies,” Rigby said.
For those who love to dress up, there will be an Oktoberfest costume contest. There will be three categories: 12 and under; 13 to 17 years old and 18 and over. Prizes will be awarded to the winners of each category. The costume contest starts at 4 p.m.
For those who want to attend Oktoberfest closer to the evening, there will be a free German meal to the first 250 people in line at 5 p.m. Following dinner, the atmosphere will be focused more for adults only. There will be a DJ and a Stein Holding contest. The first 20 men and the first 20 women to sign up will be able to showcase how long they can hold a full stein of beer. The contest starts at 7 p.m.
Oktoberfest is the kickoff event for the fall season on Fort Liberty. Col. John Wilcox, the Fort Liberty garrison commander, told Up & Coming Weekly that MWR and Fort Liberty plan on holding more events throughout the season for families and for soldiers.
“We are going to focus really heavily, especially getting into the fall season, on making sure that there's plenty of events for families and our soldiers, sailors and the Marines and Space Force guardians to go do on the installation. The focus has been to provide soldiers opportunities to come on post and enjoy themselves,” Wilcox said.
Fort Liberty’s Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Gregory Seymour wanted to ensure families that this is not only a family-friendly event, but there will be plenty of security as well.
“This is a safe environment. There will be security. [Military police] will be patrolling around so it, it will be a very, very safe event,” Seymour said.
Everyone organizing the event all agreed they hope people come out and have a good time. Last year was the first time Oktoberfest was celebrated on Fort Liberty, and there was a good turnout, despite there being hurricane-related weather. The hope is that the sun will be shining on Saturday and people can come out and enjoy themselves.
Oktoberfest starts at noon and will go through 10 p.m. The Fall Market will run from noon to 6 p.m. Entrance is free, but there will be items available for purchase. The event is open to the public. Non-DOD ID cardholders will need to get a visitor pass at the All American Gate Visitor Center. This can be done in person or folks can pre-register for gate access by going to https://home.army.mil/liberty/application/files/6816/8372/2450/FORT_LIBERTY_VISITOR_PASS_REQUEST_USING_ONLINE_PRE.pdf.
For a list of vendors at the Fall Market, go to https://liberty.armymwr.com/calendar/event/fall-market/5959929/65056. For more information about the event, go to https://liberty.armymwr.com/calendar/event/72037 or call (910) 907-2582.