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It’s not a case of tanks or nothing.

The 9th annual Tanks in Town, an annual assembly of World War II tanks in Mons, Belgium, will draw more than just the heavy armor.

There will be the ubiquitous re-enactors, period vehicles, a military flea market, parades and thousands of onlookers for the event, to be held Aug. 25-26.

“This year we may also have some (vintage) planes,” said Pierre Deghaye, president of the Royal Mons Auto Moto Club, which, along with the city of Mons, is sponsoring the event.

The gathering commemorates the Sept. 2, 1944, liberation of Mons by the 1st Infantry Division and 3rd Armored Division. The Battle of Mons led to the defeat of 30,000 German soldiers, though their comrades would soon try to undo matters by launching an offensive that came to be known as the Battle of the Bulge.

Organizers of this year’s event opted to hold their remembrance a week earlier to avoid conflict with another across the border in France, Deghaye said.

The Mons gathering ends on the afternoon of Aug. 26 with a two-prong parade, one consisting of tanks and the other World War II vehicles, including transport trucks to motorcycles. Last year, about 25,000 people lined the two parade routes, Deghaye said.

“Once all the tanks arrive (at the city square), it’s packed,” said Cis Spook, a spokeswoman for U.S. Army Garrison Benelux. “That is the highlight Sunday.”

For some visitors, it’s the day before that holds the greatest promise.

Many of the active participants in the tank and vehicle parades will offer rides to the public. A tank run is especially coveted and interested parties are encouraged to register in advance. Prices will vary depending on the vehicle.

The flea market is also scheduled for Saturday.

For more information on the rides or the weekend, go to the event Web site at: www.tanksin town.be


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