Ft. Jackson celebrates 101 years with big party, concert

When Ft. Jackson throws a party, it’s a big one and everyone is invited. The base celebrated its 101st birthday Saturday with a free concert featuring country stars Rodney Atkins and Sara Evans.

Thousands of people filled Hilton Field starting hours before Evans took the stage at 7, with many civilians joining the soldiers currently stationed at the base. The military personnel on hand included every rank from those currently in basic training to Maj. Gen. Pete Johnson, the fort’s commanding officer.

“We’re blessed to be a part of this great mission,” Johnson said. “101 years knocking it out of the park for our great nation.”

After Evans’ performance, the crowd had the opportunity to witness a life-changing surprise. Ft. Jackson Sgt. Benjamin Fannin proposed to his girlfriend, Jenna Peters, who said yes.

The celebration also featured rides and games for kids, food trucks and concession stands for all. Displays from event sponsors like 94.3 The Dude, Cool Care, Thunder Tower and the Columbia Police Department offered lots of souvenirs and information.

The Army’s traveling truck with vehicle simulators, combat weapon displays and other fun and learning opportunities for all ages (and the bonus of air conditioning) was also on hand.

Atkins’ performance was followed by a fireworks display to close the evening. Allen Wallace photos