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Dedicated to military children: Event gets youth ‘out and moving’

Children hunt for eggs during the 12th annual Children’s Festival at the Fort Rucker Festival Fields March 19. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Children hunt for eggs during the 12th annual Children’s Festival at the Fort Rucker Festival Fields March 19. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: March 25, 2016

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (March 25, 2016) -- Thousands crowded the Fort Rucker Festival Fields March 19 as children lined up to search for more than 16,000 eggs filled with treats and toys during one of the installation’s biggest events.

The 12th annual Children’s Festival returned to Fort Rucker with a host of activities, including train rides, inflatables, jugglers, superheroes and even a petting zoo, and according to Kristi Fink, Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation special events coordinator, it was all dedicated to military children.

“The Children’s Festival is a great way to get the kids out and moving,” she said. “In this day and age, the kids stay inside and play games on their electronics or watch television. It’s good to get them interested in outdoor activities, and any time there is something to take your mind off of the daily struggles is a good thing.”

People, young and old, were encouraged to dress as their favorite superhero, and many took part in kids karaoke, which was a new addition this year.

Darcy Mayville, military spouse, came out to the festival fields with her two children, Jordan and Jamie, as a means to get some fun in the sun on what they called a “gorgeous day – too nice to waste.”

“We wanted to come out and see everything they had to offer out here, and we were really surprised at the amount of people that were here,” she said. “My kids really had fun during the egg hunt, which I’m glad they had so many eggs for all the children, because they all got a chance to get some surprises.”

For Jordan, he said his favorite part of the festival, not including the egg hunt, was the petting zoo.

“I got to pet a kangaroo and some goats,” he said. “They were really soft.”

For Mayville, events like the Children’s Festival are a great way to get the children out of the house to meet other families.

“It’s great when they hold events like this where so many families can come out and mingle,” she said. “A lot of times people can get stuck in their little bubble, especially in a military family when you move around a lot, but it’s important to get out and get to know other families, and it’s great to be able to talk with people going through a lot of the same things that you are.”

In addition to new and familiar faces, some children even had the chance to test their mettle with a scaled down version of the Warrant Officer Career College obstacle course, where they had the chance to scale up incline walls and cross monkey bars.

“I thought it was the greatest thing that they had Soldiers out there to help children get across (the obstacle course),” said Julianne Farone, military spouse, who visited the festival with her son, Jeremy. “That’s the community that is here and that’s the community that everyone needs to get to know, and I just thought it was amazing to see that – Soldiers taking time out of their weekend to help children and families have a good time.”

The event was also a chance for people to get a photo opportunity with the Easter Bunny before he made his rounds to hide eggs this year.

“Jeremy loves seasonal characters,” said Farone. “He always gets so excited to see characters like the Easter Bunny, and I’m just so glad that the post goes out to make these events something that the children will remember. It will definitely give them fond memories of this place.”

This article was originally published at http://www.army.mil/article/164950/

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