2017-10-06 / News Update

Fall festivities take over Barton Field

Laura Levering
Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office


Rachael Woolfolk, from Newark, New Jersey, receives a helping of fresh German beer Friday evening from Master Sgt. Philipp Mehrens, liaison officer with the German Armed Forces. 
Photos by Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Rachael Woolfolk, from Newark, New Jersey, receives a helping of fresh German beer Friday evening from Master Sgt. Philipp Mehrens, liaison officer with the German Armed Forces. Photos by Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office A portion of Barton Field was transformed into a fall fairyland last week as the community celebrated the beginning of a new season.

Fort Gordon’s Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation hosted its annual Fall Fest Sept. 28 through Oct. 1. The four-day event included a carnival, live music and entertainment, free fall-themed activities, a Vendor Village with more than 25 vendors, and the installation’s annual Flea Market with more than 40 vendors.

The celebration officially kicked off Sept. 29 with an Oktoberfest theme that included a keg tapping ceremony, German-themed music, food and entertainment.

Hundreds gathered beneath a tent, which served as the central site for Oktoberfest festivities. Fort Gordon Garrison Commander Col. Todd Turner welcomed everyone and gave a brief history of Oktoberfest.

“Many service members have been stationed in Germany and experienced Oktoberfest in Munich, where it all began in 1810,” Turner said. “It has really become synonymous with fall festivals here in America, and our fall festival is no different.”

Lt. Col. Sascha Blankenburg, U.S. Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon German liaison officer, joined Turner on stage next to the keg. Blankenburg said the keg was filled with authentic German beer that was shipped from Germany a few days prior courtesy of his counterpart, Master Sgt. Philipp Mehrens, German liaison senior NCO.

Blankenburg told the audience it was a privilege to present them with the keg. He went on to express his appreciation for Americans in attendance.

“I am personally convinced that without your support for many, many years, and for your friendship, Germany would not be where it is now,” Blankenburg said.


Above: Friday night’s visitors take in some rattling, rolling, kid-friendly entertainment on Barton Field. At left: Master Sgt. Philipp Mehrens, liaison officer with the German Armed Forces, helps keep freshly tapped, German-style suds flowing. Above: Friday night’s visitors take in some rattling, rolling, kid-friendly entertainment on Barton Field. At left: Master Sgt. Philipp Mehrens, liaison officer with the German Armed Forces, helps keep freshly tapped, German-style suds flowing. In an effort to provide as authentic of a ceremony as possible, Blankenburg summoned Turner and Maj. Gen. John B. Morrison Jr., CCOE and Fort Gordon commanding general, to join him onstage. Dressed in German costumes, Turner played the role of the Mayor of Munich and Morrison played the Prime Minister of Bavaria.

Blankenburg explained that mayor is always recognized by the number of taps it takes for him to open the keg.

“There is a wide range between two and the worst is 19,” Blankenburg said.

Turner succeeded in 10. As the beer flowed, Blankenburg invited those 21 and older to join them for a taste, indicating the official start of Oktoberfest. Joe and Heather Sepielli of Martinez were among the first in line. The couple said attending Fort Gordon’s Oktoberfest takes them back to when they lived in Germany from 1984 to 1987.

“Celebrating Oktoberfest amongst military folks is what we’re accustomed to,” Joe said. “We associate it with our time being immersed in the German culture with the military culture, and it was a wonderful time of our life.”

Turner recognized Danielle Hayes, special events coordinator for DFMWR, Recreation Division, and Dan Posey, Fort Gordon Dinner Theater producer, for pouring time and effort into ensuring patrons like the Sepiellis could enjoy themselves. Hayes said it took many hands.

“Fort Gordon MWR works tirelessly to present fun events to the Fort Gordon community,” Hayes said. “We hope that the service members, their families, and the entire community enjoyed the event as much as we did.”


It’s “Chicken Dance” time Friday evening, during the Fall Festival and Flea Market, with a soundtrack courtesy of Terry Cavanagh and the Alpine Express.It’s “Chicken Dance” time Friday evening, during the Fall Festival and Flea Market, with a soundtrack courtesy of Terry Cavanagh and the Alpine Express.
Success! Col. Todd Turner, left, Fort Gordon garrison commander (in character as the mayor of Munich), taps a keg Friday evening to help get Oktoberfest merriment in gear. Helping is Master Sgt. Philipp Mehrens, liaison officer with the German Armed Forces.Success! Col. Todd Turner, left, Fort Gordon garrison commander (in character as the mayor of Munich), taps a keg Friday evening to help get Oktoberfest merriment in gear. Helping is Master Sgt. Philipp Mehrens, liaison officer with the German Armed Forces.
Jason Jones, a musician with Terry Cavanagh and the Alpine Express, puts the alphorn sound into Friday evening’s performance, with some microphone management support from Jack Bryant, a retired colonel with the 7th Signal Command Theater. Jason Jones, a musician with Terry Cavanagh and the Alpine Express, puts the alphorn sound into Friday evening’s performance, with some microphone management support from Jack Bryant, a retired colonel with the 7th Signal Command Theater.

The hokey pokey, courtesy of Terry Cavanagh and the Alpine Express, draws some participation on the dance floor Friday evening, with a variety of oomph options being offered. The hokey pokey, courtesy of Terry Cavanagh and the Alpine Express, draws some participation on the dance floor Friday evening, with a variety of oomph options being offered.
Exploring their options Friday night on Barton Field are Chief Warrant Officer Army Warrant Office 3 Chris Tucker, right, 116th Military
Intelligence Brigade; his daughter, Olivia, 3; and family friend Warrant Officer Amanda Epley, also with the 116th.Exploring their options Friday night on Barton Field are Chief Warrant Officer Army Warrant Office 3 Chris Tucker, right, 116th Military Intelligence Brigade; his daughter, Olivia, 3; and family friend Warrant Officer Amanda Epley, also with the 116th.

Taco, a service dog traveling as a part of the Tic Toc Concessions team, goes for hydration while on duty in a game booth. Taco, a service dog traveling as a part of the Tic Toc Concessions team, goes for hydration while on duty in a game booth.

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