What sporting event involves walking, the “chicken dance,” beer and Family fun? Fort Bragg residents discovered the answer to that puzzler and more at the fifth annual Fort Bragg Volksmarch at Smith Lake recreation area, Saturday.
About 700 adults and children attended the event, said Patti Drumm, Fort Bragg Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, Sports and Fitness office.
The event featured a 5 kilometer walk over the hills and through the woods around Smith Lake.
Volksmarchers also painted pumpkins, enjoyed a hayride and listened to the Bavarian Brass Band of Fayetteville play polkas, traditional German songs and American standards.
McKellar’s Lodge employees served German fare such as wurst sliders, sauerkraut, German potato salad and brotchen.
Mike Garrity, manager of McKellar’s Lodge remembers attending volksmarches while stationed in Germany.
“Most of the time it was on the Rhine River between Sankt Goarshausen and Bingen.You would pick areas to walk in between. They would have beer and food tents everywhere,” he said.
Sheri Black also remembers the walks in Germany.
“I used to go on volksmarches as a kid with my dad. We did it every weekend,” she said.
Black said she will carry on the tradition with her husband, Patrick and daughters, Karma, 6, and Zoe, 1, at the Fort Bragg Volksmarch.
One of the popular booths at the festival was the Fort Bragg Animal Shelter and Adoption Center. The shelter had dogs and cats ready for new homes. Family pets were also in attendance, many in costume ranging from bassett hounds in tutus, weimeraners in traditional German garb to a shiba inu dressed as a frog. Cocojean, a weimeraner, won first place in the dog costume contest.
Returning volksmarchers Bert and Angela Serrano, owners of Yuki the shiba inu ‘frog,’ liked the tweaks to the course from last year.
“It had wider trails and you were allowed to pass a lot easier,” said Serrano.
By the end of the festival, participants took home a commemorative mug, a full stomach and memories of a fun autumn Saturday.