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Fort Gordon indulges in flavor of Germany

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Fort Gordon's annual Oktoberfest celebration gets bigger each year, and Kim Lyons is excited about what this year holds.

"The German Friendship Club is back. They will be cooking authentic German food," said Lyons, marketing director of Fort Gordon's Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, which sponsors the four-day event, held today through Sunday at Barton Field. "They bring a lot to it."

Fort Gordon's Oktoberfest began about nine years ago and is a favorite in the military community.

"A lot of them have spent time in Germany and have been to the authentic Oktoberfest," she said.

So Fort Gordon tries to make it as close to the real thing as possible.

A carnival opens festivities at 4 p.m. Thursday. Oktoberfest itself kicks off on Friday with a keg-tapping and welcome ceremony with folk dancers at 6:40 p.m. Terry Cavanagh and the Alpine Express will perform from 7 to 11 p.m.

SATURDAY IS packed with activities. The annual Fort Gordon Service Club fall flea market will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The club uses the event to raise funds for scholarships and grants to area charities. There will be a car, truck and bike show from noon to 4 p.m.

Oktoberfest activities will begin at noon. The Signal Corps Band will alternate with Terry Cavanagh and his ensembles -- the Alpine Express and Spass Gang -- beginning at 1 p.m. Entertainment will wrap up at 11 p.m. The German Friendship Club's Edelweiss dancers will perform during the day as well.

ENTERTAINMENT BEGINS at 1 p.m. Sunday with Terry Cavanagh and the Alpine Express playing to 5 p.m.

The carnival will feature a midway with adult and kiddie rides as well as traditional fair games, said Lyons.

Admission to Oktoberfest is free; however, there is a cost to ride the carnival rides. Armbands may be purchased for the carnival for $20 for those age 9 and older and $10 for age 8 and younger. There are special military prices at various times during the weekend.

Lyons said Oktoberfest is open to the general public.

"Everybody is welcome. You don't have to be active-duty military. You just have to have a valid driver's license, car registration and insurance to get into the gate," she said.

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