MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, GA -- Marine Corps Community Services here hosted a base Gnat Bash Saturday that focused on providing families with an event children and adults could enjoy.
Matt Knox, business performance manager, was the intermittent director of Marine Corps Community Services here during the planning stages of the Gnat Bash.
The idea was formed during a meeting between MCCS personnel and various people and organizations aboard the base to discuss ways to improve the community's quality of life. Responding to opinions that the local community offers limited fun activities, MCCS personnel decided to host an event on base that would provide fun and entertainment for adults and children.
Many small-town communities have annual events with peculiar names to make them unique and original, said Knox. Because of an abundance of annoying little gnats, Gunnery Sgt. Eddie L. Walker, staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the Maintenance Branch here, suggested the name "Gnat Bash."
Gnats harass people because they fly around one's eyes and ears. Their irritating presence often results in people swinging their arms wildly and engaging in other unexpected activities in frustrated attempts to "bash" the tiny insects. However because of the Gnat Bash's festive purpose, the word "bash" can also be interpreted as a party.
Local business sponsors made the Gnat Bash free and open to the public, MCCS's way to give back to the community, said Knox.
"The community support, in form of this sponsorship, was just fantastic," said Knox.
While planning the event the MCCS staff had a challenging time deciding how they would cater to families, said Knox. They decided to kick the bash off with a showing of the "Country Bears," a G-rated movie for the whole family, at the Base Theater.
Continuing the family theme, the event featured two children's activities that featured large inflated surfaces a slide and an obstacle course. Keri and the Kruisers, a band from Atlanta, were on hand to entertain adults. Of course, a bash would not be complete without food and drinks, which were prepared by MCCS. Admission and the inflatable attractions were free and the cost of food was reasonable.
"We decided early that this is the first of what we hope will be an annual event," said Knox. "One of the things we decided to do was not sell beer, since it was a family event."
Now that the bash is over, MCCS personnel will scrutinize its activities to make it more successful next year, said Knox. The MCCS staff will have a comprehensive after-action meeting to determine improvements.
"We didn't have as many people show up as we wanted," said Knox. "And not many people stayed for the band that played later on. We have to think about that. It's too early to say what kind of changes need to happen, but there is always room for improvement.
"Normally, events like this take time to evolve," said Knox. "Because you have to try it out and learn from the experience."
Knox still felt the bash was successful, he said. The families he spoke with during the event enjoyed themselves. He also received compliments on how well Keri and the Kruisers performed. Knox attributes the success of the event to the hard working MCCS employees who assisted in putting the event together.