Fort Hood residents dusted off their lederhosen and dirndls in celebration of Oktoberfest Saturday at the Phantom Warrior Center.
More than 4,500 people attended Fort Hood’s annual Oktoberfest, celebrating the three B’s of the German festival – beer, brats and bands.
“This was our version of Oktoberfest,” Norma Hernandez, special events coordinator for Fort Hood’s Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare & Recreation, said. “We had various food, arts and crafts vendors, music, bouncey houses, various games and contest.”
Oktoberfest traces its roots back to 1810, when Bavaria’s Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen, a celebration lasting several days. The now annual event is a two-week celebration, concluding on the first Sunday of October, in Germany.
The ballroom of the Phantom Warrior Center was transformed into a German beer tent. Oktoberfest is traditionally kicked off with a keg-tapping ceremony and Fort Hood’s celebration was no different. Hundreds of people cheered as beer sprayed out of the keg, while Brig. Gen. Darren Werner, director of sustainment for III Corps, serving as the official keg-tapper.
“It was almost just like we were in Germany,” Werner said. “A little different and a little bit of a malfunction on the nozzle.”
Although the keg-tapping did not go according to plan, Hernandez said people still had a good time watching it.
“It was spectacular,” she said of the keg-tapping.
The festival included live music inside and outside, bouncey houses and games for children and adults. The DFMWR also had 800 pumpkins out for children to choose, paint and take home, which Hernandez said is always a big hit for the families.
Competitions included a keg toss, keg roll, hammerschlagen, brat eating and stein-hoisting contest for men and women. The large stein, filled with water, weighed 11 pounds. Hernandez said they also gave out prizes for best dirndls and lederhosen.
“It’s nice to bring families out, to show them a good time,” Hernandez said. “To get them familiar with MWR and what we offer – not only festivals, but other activities.”
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ian Otto, 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, and his family enjoyed the festivities. This marked their first year celebrating Oktoberfest at Fort Hood, but said they have previously celebrated at Fort Rucker, Alabama, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
“It’s a great crowd – a huge group of people here,” Werner said. “As our Soldiers and families do so much work, taking a little bit of time out and having the opportunity to spend time with friends and neighbors is great.”