FORT BENNING, Ga. (WRBL) – The Western Hemisphere Institute of Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) held their annual “Bocadillos” festival on Friday. The festival serves as an opportunity for the Central and Southern American soldiers that are attending WHINSEC to showcase their traditions and cultures with the community.

WHINSEC Commandant, Colonel Michael Rogowski, was in attendance and he told WRBL that the festival tries to highlight the family atmosphere that WHINSEC promotes and encourages.

“It’s a lot of pride, I really feel good about this event because it kind of shows the family atmosphere that we try to instill here at WHINSEC. It’s not just a student, instructor relationship, it’s a country relationship,” said Colonel Rogowski.

Colonel Rogowski recently became Commandant of WHINSEC in June and was experiencing Bocadillos for the first time.

“I’m interested in seeing how authentic the food is and I know it will be. For me it’s also the music and seeing the smiles of all the families and while the experience is fun one-on-one, it’s always best to share with friends,” said Colonel Rogowski.

The festival has been taking placing since WHINSEC’s inception in 2001 and Colonel Rogowski said the institution uses the festival as an opportunity to experience the culture at WHINSEC.

There were 16 countries at the festival including Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru and the Dominican Republic. Each country had a booth where they shared with attendees traditional meals, drinks and symbolic figures. The event was open to Fort Benning soldiers and their families.