The Garrison Fall Festival, with live music, a mechanical bull, hayrides, inflatable play areas, contests, games and barbecue from local area master grillers, was Nov. 6 on the grounds around Pioneer Chapel. Organizers estimated that more than 700 community members attended the festival.
“We’ve mainly done the bull and the bouncy house, and they’ve loved it,” Amanda Neltner said of the activities she and her husband, Maj. William Neltner, Combined Arms Center Fielded Force Integration Directorate, and their daughters, 7-year-old Ashley, 4-year-old Ethel, and 2-year-old Ruth, participated in during the festival. “We do a lot with the chapel, and we always like doing stuff on post.”
The Fort Leavenworth Religious Services Organization; Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation; and the Directorate of Public Works, among other organizations, provided resources and volunteers to support the event.
“We really wanted to assist the Garrison, and as the RSO, our mission is always the people,” said Michelle Taylor, Catholic community coordinator. “We wanted families to meet other families and kids to have fun. It’s outdoors, and God gave us a beautiful day.”
Taylor said coordination by RSO was assisted by chaplains and religious service special-ists. She said volunteers were also eager to sign up, and attendance exceeded expectations.
“We’ve all been cooped up for so long —it’s beautiful to see laughter and fellowship and friendship,” Taylor said.
Some children said they were excited to meet with friends they hadn’t expected to see. Elizabeth “Evie” Vankirk, age 13; Elizabeth Howell, 14; Ruthie Longfellow, 15; Annabelle Longfellow, 13; Trina Waugh, 15; and Shea Ray, 13, said they came with their families but found each other between activities.
“It was so much fun! I saw all of my friends here, and we’ve been running around having a lot of fun,” Vankirk said. She said among the group they had their own competition at the mechanical bull.
The girls said they also enjoyed the food and the music.
“I liked the friendly atmosphere here, the friendly welcome and being able to hang out,” Howell said.