Fort Leonard Wood will celebrate Oktoberfest from 4 to 8 p.m. Oct. 6 at Pershing Community Center.
Visitors can enjoy traditional German food, beer, games — as well as some new activities making their debut as part of the festivities.
“It always seems to be a good time,” LoraLee Newbeck, special events coordinator with the post’s Installation Wide Events Office, said when asked if there has been a common thread linking Fort Leonard Wood’s Oktoberfest events through the years.
The celebration will open with a traditional keg-tapping ceremony.
The 399th Army band will provide the music, performing a variety of traditional German tunes and Polka music.
Visitors can enjoy a variety of traditional German food and beer, both of which will be available for purchase.
From 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., children can play in the Kinderplatz, with inflatable bounce houses and a variety of activities.
Games and contests for adults begin at 5 p.m. with a Best Dressed Contest, followed by a Brat Eating Contest at 5:30 p.m., a Barrel Relay at 6 p.m., the traditional Barrel Toss at 6:30 p.m. and the annual Stein Holding Contest at 7 p.m.
“The highlight of Oktoberfest is usually the stein-holding competition,” Newbeck said. “People like to see who can hold the stein straight out the longest without spilling any water.”
Throughout the event, visitors can have their photos taken at a photo booth, or have their likenesses captured in cartoon form by a caricature artist.
“That’s something different that we haven’t had before, and should be pretty fun,” Newbeck said.
The event is returning to Pershing Community Center after being held the past few years at Nutter Field House. Newbeck said most events will take place outside on the Pershing center’s patio.
“The event will be held rain or shine, so if the weather looks like it will take a turn, we will move it inside. But we’re planning for most of the events to be outside in the patio area,” she said.
Oktoberfest celebrations date back to a German royal wedding held in 1810, when Crown Prince Ludwig (who later became King Ludwig I of Bavaria) was wedded to Princess Therese von SachsenHildburghausen near Munich. Their wedding celebration was so huge and popular that the party took place again the following year, prompting the start of the traditional German celebration that has become world famous. As immigrants from Germany came to North America, smaller versions of Oktoberfest sprouted up in thousands of communities across the country.
Admission to Oktoberfest is free, and the event is open to the public. No pets are allowed on the premises during the event.
For more information, call the Installation-Wide Events office at 573.596.6913 or visit leonardwood.armymwr.com.