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Yokosuka Naval Base commands — all the ships and groups from the Boy Scouts to the Japanese-American Society of Zushi — gathered Tuesday at the C-2 auditorium to decorate some 45 Christmas trees for the base's annual Festival of Trees. The festival is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Yokosuka Naval Base commands — all the ships and groups from the Boy Scouts to the Japanese-American Society of Zushi — gathered Tuesday at the C-2 auditorium to decorate some 45 Christmas trees for the base's annual Festival of Trees. The festival is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. (Nancy Montgomery / S&S)

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Commands will be decorating Christmas trees this week for the Festival of Trees holiday party Saturday and Sunday.

The festival, an open house amid 46 twinkling trees in the C-2 auditorium, runs both weekend days from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Admission is free.

There will be candy, soft drinks and other refreshments, and small gifts for children.

And Santa Claus will be hearing gift requests.

Two children’s choirs will perform Saturday. The first, a Seika Kindergarten group, will sing from about 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Then an Ikego Elementary School choir will sing carols until about 12:30 p.m.

Pianist Fumiko Matsuno, who often performs in the Officers Club and gives piano lessons on base, will perform holiday tunes throughout both days.

On Monday, the Morale, Welfare and Recreation office staff began hauling the trees — most between 6 and 7 feet — up the stairs to the auditorium.

On Tuesday, commands — Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka, the Fleet and Industrial Supply Center, the Ship Repair Facility, the base hospital, the dental center and all 11 ships among them — were set to send their most visually creative staffers to the auditorium to decorate their trees.

The sparkling auditorium also will be the scene Friday night of an evening-dress reception the base is hosting for local Japanese officials, such as the Yokosuka mayor and the head of the Chamber of Commerce.

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Nancy is an Italy-based reporter for Stars and Stripes who writes about military health, legal and social issues. An upstate New York native who served three years in the U.S. Army before graduating from the University of Arizona, she previously worked at The Anchorage Daily News and The Seattle Times. Over her nearly 40-year journalism career she’s won several regional and national awards for her stories and was part of a newsroom-wide team at the Anchorage Daily News that was awarded the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

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