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YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The 54th annual Japanese-American Friendship Festival takes place this weekend along the base’s flightline near Hangar 15.

More than 110,000 Japanese visitors turned out for the 2003 festival — when temperatures soared into the upper 90s. With milder weather predicted this time around, base officials expect attendance to climb.

Events are set from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.

A variety of U.S. military and Japanese aircraft will be on static display, including the B-52 Stratofortress, C-130 Hercules, C-21A Learjet, F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, KC-135 Stratotanker, MC-130P Combat Shadow, UH-1N Huey and UH-60. Flight demonstrations also are planned.

Live entertainment featuring rock, pop, blues, gospel and Latin music will emanate from both an outdoor and indoor stage. Performances by the U.S. Air Force Band of the Pacific-Asia, Yokota Samurai and Jinba Taiko teams, and the Tanabata Dancers, are on tap as well.

More than 200 booths are being set up in the festival area, officials said, complete with demonstrations, games and concessions.

Male and female bodybuilders will appear on stage Sunday afternoon in the Yokota Strong Man Challenge, sponsored by the Yokota Fitness Center.

A fireworks finale, slated for 8:45 p.m. Sunday, is to punctuate the weekend festivities.

Base guests must provide a photo ID and will be allowed to enter Yokota only on foot through the Supply Gate, officials said. Bike racks are available.

Pets, large baggage, glass bottles and coolers are among the prohibited items, and all bags will be subject to search at the gate. Smoking won’t be permitted on base.

The Friendship Festival was created to strengthen ties between Japan and the United States, Yokota officials said. It’s designed to promote the exchange of friendships, cultures and experiences.


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