Labor Day Festival a big success at Casey
CAMP CASEY – The Labor Day Festival was a huge success on Saturday as thousands of people from Warrior Country enjoyed an American-style festival with a touch of Korean heritage on the main streets of Camp Casey.
Labor Day, a national holiday set for the first Monday in September recognizes the hard work and achievements of American workers and for their contributions to the economic growth and prosperity of our nation and to formally celebrate the end-of-summer.
The Area I festivities kicked off as 86 participants competed in a 5 kilometer race at 8 a.m. at Camp Red Cloud. Medals were awarded to the top two finishers in each of the four categories… overall men’s and women’s event and categories for overall senior men’s and women’s.
The Casey streets filled with people of all ages were eager to get the festivities started at 3 p.m.
Carnival rides like the merry-go-round, donkey rides, paddle boats, “Viking” rides and the bungee-cord trampoline brought loud shrieks of delight from the younger children who were brave enough to ride them.
The streets were lined with vendors selling carnival style foods like funnel cakes, cotton candy, barbecue, hamburgers, hotdogs and ice-cream. There were plenty of water, sodas, and ice-cold lemonade that could be purchased to quench one’s thirst throughout the day.
Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers made their presence felt by challenging contestants to participate in either a fear factor style eating contest or the traditional pie-eating contest.
The fear factor competition had 20 participants with stomachs made of steel as they slimed their way separating the gummy worms out of a pie-pan filled with a concoction of ingredients that would make any normal person’s stomach churn.
“The tastes in the first two-rounds weren’t too bad,” said Cpl. Vincent Stringer, Company A, 1st Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment. “But the last round, what we ate was terrible and too chunky; sometimes I had to just swallow it without chewing.”
Col. John M. Scott, U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud and Area I commander, awarded Stringer with an I-Pad mini for his valiant effort. Second and third place finishers received a goody bag filled with a BOSS polo shirt, tee-shirt and other memorabilia.
The pie-eating contestants raced to see who could eat the chocolate and whip-cream pie the fastest as bystanders cheered them on. The first place, second place and third place winners received $150, $100 and $50 Army and Air Force Exchange Service gift cards respectively.
2nd Infantry Division’s rock band took to the main stage and provided up-beat songs that had the audiences dancing in their seats.
There were plenty performances scheduled throughout the day for people to observe. The Korean-style drummers and a balancing act on a tight-rope attracted 100s of people around the softball field as they played and displayed their talents.
The Military Police showed off their police dog’s obedience and agility by showcasing the different types of attacks used by the MPs.
As the sun went down, folks gathered around the main stage to watch, listen and dance to the live entertainment that included fusion band, mariachi, and a female rock-band, Mad Fret.
According to Scott, the Labor Day Festival is Area I’s biggest annual recreational event and this year’s event is comparable to county fairs held in big cities.
“Everyone who helped put this [festival] together did a wonderful job,” congratulated Scott. “No matter how old you are three or 30 or even older, I think everyone had fun.”