By Sidney Sullivan
Cool breezes, shorter days and the need for a light sweater all mean one thing – fall is just around the corner.
Over in Bavaria, Germany, last month, the U.S. military community celebrated the change of seasons – and the return to school – at the USO Grafenwoehr Sun & Fun event, which takes place every year at the end of summer.
“It is a special time to celebrate being a military community,” said Gabe Foist, center manager of USO Grafenwoehr.
“To appreciate the families and service members that serve here, just having some fun, enjoying the last hoorah for summer and being excited to go back to school, see friends and get back into learning.”
Preregistered event participants enjoyed a barbeque, cake cutting, games, prizes, inflatables, canoes, paddleboats, face paintings, a magic show, music and community connectivity.
“It’s been a very challenging last year and a half with COVID,” Foist said. “Other than last year, this is an annual event … so we’re very excited to have this once again and offer it to folks. And we know it’s special to our garrison commander.”
According to Foist, the U.S. Army Bavaria Garrison Commander Col. Christopher Danbeck made it a point to ensure the event was still going to happen over the course of multiple plans and operations meetings. Foist also expressed immense gratitude for all the volunteers — totaling 63 people — as well as the partner and sponsor organizations who set up booths and helped make the event possible.
“We are so grateful for the people who came out [to participate] and for the people volunteering,” Foist said.
People throughout the local entire community came together to make the event a success.
“An example is the young gentlemen over there doing the dunk tank. He’s a guest, but he came up and said, ‘I see your dunk tank. I’ll go in if you want, if you can find a towel for me.’ We got him a towel, and he’s running the dunk tank for us,” Foist said.
Army Spc. Dalton Howard, the impromptu dunk tank volunteer, said that he noticed there was no one in the dunk tank – likely due to the cloudy weather – and thought that kids would have more fun at the booth if they could dunk a person. He was happy to step in to help.
“We had a really good turnout. A lot of kids came by — more kids than I thought were even here once the dunk tank actually kicked off,” he said.
While the USO Sun & Fun event could not promise sun due to overcast weather, attendees of all ages still had plenty of fun throughout the day reconnecting with their community as the seasons change.
- This story originally appeared on DVIDShub.net. It has been edited for USO.org
More Stories Like This
On Its 80th Anniversary, the USO Looks Back on Eight Decades of Standing by the U.S. Military’s Side
Over the course of the USO’s 80-year history, the organization has seen it all: the beaches of France, the jungles of Vietnam, the deserts of Saudi Arabia and the mountains of Afghanistan.
24 Hours Around the World with the USO
Find out what it’s like at USO centers around the world over the course of 24 hours.
Despite Distance and a Pandemic, Military Spouses Find Solace in the USO’s Virtual Book Club
Three military spouses stationed all around the globe were able to connect with one another virtually and share their love of reading during this past year.
More from the USO
Sep 17, 2021
What is the Air Force Known for in the Modern Military World?
From breaking the sound barrier to hunting hurricanes, today’s U.S. Air Force has a long and proud history of military power and accomplishments. Here are eight facts about Air Force history and the role the branch plays today.
Sep 16, 2021
What is the Black and White Flag Flown on POW/MIA Recognition Day?
The POW/MIA flag, a solemn black-and-white banner, stands as a tribute to the troops who fought in Vietnam and remain missing or unaccounted for, as well as all missing service personnel who have not yet been returned to American soil. Typically, it is flown POW/MIA Recognition Day on the third Friday in September, but in some locations, it is displayed all year-round.
Sep 15, 2021
Netflix Celebrity Chefs Prue Leith and Jacques Torres Bring the Joy of Baking to Military Families
Netflix celebrity chefs Jacques Torres of “Nailed It!” and Prue Leith of “The Great British Baking Show” joined the USO and American military families all around the world to share in the joy of baking during a USO MVP event.