About 7,500 people came out to Fort Hood’s Oktoberfest celebration held Friday at the Phantom Warrior Center.

“It was definitely bigger than last year,” said Rikki Addy, special events coordinator with the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. “It has a lot to do with a lot of the units being back. Last year, a lot of the units were still gone, so that definitely helped our numbers.”

The German-themed event included fun for the whole family, as well as German food and beer, all set to the sounds of German band, Das Ist Lustig.

A surprising hit with the crowd this year were the competitions, which included a strong man, yodeling and costume contest.

“It seemed like people had a lot of fun with all the contests going on,” Addy said. “I hope that we can continue doing that in the future.”

Aside from Big Hoss Bar-B-Que selling German food, the rest of the food vendors were fundraising family readiness groups.

Volunteers from 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, were selling bratwurst with sauerkraut to raise money for various events hosted by the readiness group. “We like to be able to recognize our volunteers or have holiday parties,” said Theresa Castillo, readiness group leader.

The pumpkin patch and kids’ activities also attracted a crowd.

“They wanted to paint some pumpkins,” said Samantha Wendtland, a spouse with 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, of bringing her son and daughter out.

“The kids love it. They get to see all their little friends,” she said.

Contact Rose L. Thayer at rthayer@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here.

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