YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Soldiers and civilians here celebrated the “biggest event of the year” Saturday with a parade, carnival and daylong festival to mark the Columbus Day weekend.

Though the weather forecast predicted rain showers, the day was warm and dry, helping Yongsan residents mark the long weekend with fun and games.

“I think it’s pretty neat that the base is doing this, because you don’t really think of Columbus Day as anything special, just a day off from work,” said Patty Hanks, who enjoyed the day’s festivities with her two kids.

“For them to put this on, it kind of shows that they’re trying to give people more options of things to do.”

For weeks, the Yongsan Morale, Welfare and Recreation department advertised the day as “Yongsan Communities Biggest Event of the Year.”

While some found that strange, others tried to offer an explanation.

“I think this is really the only time of the year that you could do something like this outdoors,” said Sgt. Chuck Lewis, who was watching his kids play carnival games on Lombardo Field.

“It’s too hot in the summer, it’s too cold in the winter, and it’s too rainy in other parts of the year. This is the perfect time to have something like this.”

Indeed, the crowds had many options. Several bands, including the 8th Army band, and a “rock violinist” performed at various locations. The night ended with a fireworks show, something associated more with the Fourth of July than a fall day.

“There’s a lot of stuff going on right now around Yongsan. There’s this, the Oktoberfest, the Itaewon festival. ... It’s a good weekend to get out,” said Sherry Lang, an Army spouse. “I’m having a blast.”

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