One of the great things about a Volksmarch is that it is an easy way to get in some exercise and enjoy the great outdoors without the stress that comes with competitive fitness events. Granted, there are plenty of people who look forward to beating 10-10-12-volksmarch.giftheir best time and crossing the finish line with a rush of adrenaline. For the rest of us, a Volksmarch is the answer. On Oct. 20, check out the 5th Annual Volksmarch and Festival at Smith Lake. Bring your friends, family and even Fido is welcome as long as his vaccine is current and is kept on a leash.

While the event is open to all ages, Steve Johnson, event spokesperson notes that “…it is not necessarily stroller friendly.” He cautions that while “strollers do go out on the route, some of it is sandy. The packed down trail is fine but the sandy areas are more difficult and people should consider that when they bring a stroller.”

Sponsored by Fort Bragg MWR, the event features more than a stroll and meander through the wooded paths. The day includes German cuisine for sale, live entertainment, a dog-costume contest, hayrides, a kids corner , both a 5K and a 10K walk and pumpkin decorating.

Johnson sees the event as something different for the community to enjoy for several reasons. “I think that it is for us a little bit of a unique event. It is a non-competitive celebratory event. In that sense it is unique from what we usually do. In the past it has been well received.”

Although the walk starts at 9 a.m., participants have until noon to begin the trek. It costs just $5 per person to register prior to the event and $10 on the day of the Volksmarch. To register, go to the Leisure Travel Service Office in the Fort Bragg Mini-Mall Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. The first 500 registrants receive a commemorative mug.

The day’s entertainment includes performances by The Bavarian Brass Band. Johnson says that it is not unusual to find listeners dancing to the peppy music throughout the day. If the stroll is not enough to burn off extra energy, send the kids to the Kidz Korner to enjoy one of the many inflatables like slides and bounce houses.

Being truly family friendly, there is something for everyone, including Fido. “We will have a dog costume contest,” said Johnson. Being a German-themed event some of the costumes in the past have been “somewhat ethnically related” he added. Picture your favorite four-legged friend in liederhosen or a dirndl and you get the picture. At the very least, the costumes are unique from year to year.

There are 100 pumpkins just waiting to be decorated. The pumpkins and decorations are provided. Technically, it is not a contest, so everyone leaves a winner.

“There was a good response to this last year,” said Johnson. “We charged for the pumpkin decorating last year, but this year it is free.”

After working up an appetite on the walk and enjoying the festivities, refuel with some hearty German food. Round out the adventure with a hayride and call it a day.

Find out more at wwwfortbraggmwr.com or by calling 396-1217.

Photo: Sponsored by Fort Bragg MWR, the event features more than a stroll and meandering the wooded paths.

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