Winter Carnival on hiatus with KC-46 on the horizon

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Erica C. Rowe
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing
Airmen and their families may have to postpone the annual Winter Carnival event here next December as a result of ongoing renovations at the hangar as the wing continues to prepare for the projected arrival of the KC-46A Pegasus in May 2018.

"The Winter Carnival has been a wonderful event for our families," said Bonnie Rice, Airman and Family Readiness Program manager. "It's a lot of work for the wing, but I love doing it."

The Winter Carnival originated after a family day was cancelled when the base housed residents of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

"We had all these volunteers and donations [that we had planned to use for our Family Day], so I went to the wing commander at the time and asked if we could have a winter carnival inside a hangar," said Rice. "He said 'yes,' but that he wanted an inside dinner with turkey, ham and all the fixings, and we've been doing it ever since!"

However, as KC-46 preparations continue,  annual events, such as Winter Carnival, are temporarily threatened.

Initial plans for construction revealed that the Winter Carnival would not happen this year, but with months to spare, Rice was given the green light to begin preparations for the Winter Carnival.

"We're fortunate to be able to have this one here since the construction was delayed until next year." said Master Sgt. Daniel Demers, who has volunteered for the Winter Carnival for several years. 

"It's awesome bringing in all the families," said Demers. "It's a great opportunity for the kids to have family time with their parents."

While the hangars have undergone a transformation, the changes on base do not stop at the edge of the flight line.

"There's going to be ongoing demolition and renovations throughout the base as we make way for the KC-46," said Maj. Stephanie Kerrigan, the 157th Civil Engineering Squadron liaison for the KC-46 team. "We need to remind everyone to remain flexible ... people are going to be sitting tight and cozy for a little bit as we continue to make changes."

With physical changes to the base and a new mission in mind, Col. James Ryan, 157th Air Refueling Wing commander, said, "We are about to venture into an incredible future and it's looking pretty great."

To see a preview of the Winter Carnival, check out the video here: