September 25, 2015 --
Red and white plaid cloths covered many picnic tables. Sunflowers
attached to mason jars wrapped with blue and white or red and white bandanas and
filled with assorted candies sat on the tables.
Sunflower decorations, hay bales, buckets, chalkboards and
balloons along with the table settings might have given Boyett Park a “front porch vibe,”
More than 200 service members and their families feasted on
hamburgers, hot dogs, barbecue, baked beans, corn-on-the-cob, popcorn and ice
cream at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s Marine and Family Programs first
Front Porch Community Fair.
Paula Caserio, director, Family Care Branch, MCLB Albany, explained
the event was “initiated from Headquarters Marine Corps to try to get families out
of their houses, off social media and really connect again in person.
“It is like a Marine Corps reunion for our families to bond,
eat food, have a DJ and listen to some music and relax,” she said. “(We want
them to) understand the culture of the area they live in — a ‘front porch vibe’.
It will give them the feeling of Southern hospitality.
“I hope they’ll develop some friendships with people they don’t
often get to interact with,” Caserio added. “Whether you are active duty on a
deploying installation or on a non-deploying installation, family life is
hectic so it’s an opportunity to come together and not work. It’s about the
active duty and their families,” she continued.
Numerous adult and children’s activities were held during
the fair. Staff sergeants Jeremy Olson and Shawn Palmer raced each other on tall
tricycles around hay bales. Olson crossed the finish line first and announced his
Adult tricycle races were held every 30 minutes to “bring
out the kids in our adults so everyone can truly have a good time,” Caserio
Teens and children even tried to ride the tall tricycles.
Spouses painted door hangers. Children of all ages played
various games. They tossed rings onto glass bottles, threw bean bags and tried
to beat one another by blowing up balloons with bicycle-like pumps until the
balloons popped in the “boom blaster” game.
They also jumped around on bouncy castles.
Author Dr. Georgella Wright of “My Daddy the United States
Marine,” signed her book and conducted storytelling through a puppet show for
Marines and their spouses mingled with other couples.
From Columbia Station, Ohio, high school sweethearts Pfc.
Jared Armstrong and his wife, Jaci, attended the Front Porch Community Fair.
“It’s a good event and well-organized people put it together,”
said the 19-year-old Marine. “A lot of people are smiling, eating and having
“I like it,” Jaci, 18, said. “I wanted to get out here and
meet new people. I’m looking to make some new friends. The food was good.”
They visited with their friends — another high school sweethearts
couple, Lance Cpl. Chadd Arnold and his wife, Taylor, from Fortville, Indiana.
Also 19, Arnold said he came “to support the base, enjoy myself,
mingle and introduce my wife to other wives.”
Taylor, 18, came to be with her husband and learn about
“It’s a new place, different from Indiana and I’m trying to
learn about it,” she said. “(The fair is) a good (way) to communicate with
other people and a good way to know other people.”