Support our mission
 
Fest-goers at the Wiesbaden German-American Friendship Fest check out the "Bayern Breaker" ride Thursday, June 29, 2017 in Wiesbaden, Germany.The fest, organized by U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, is in its fourth year and open to Germans as well as Americans.
Fest-goers at the Wiesbaden German-American Friendship Fest check out the "Bayern Breaker" ride Thursday, June 29, 2017 in Wiesbaden, Germany.The fest, organized by U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, is in its fourth year and open to Germans as well as Americans. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)
Fest-goers at the Wiesbaden German-American Friendship Fest check out the "Bayern Breaker" ride Thursday, June 29, 2017 in Wiesbaden, Germany.The fest, organized by U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, is in its fourth year and open to Germans as well as Americans.
Fest-goers at the Wiesbaden German-American Friendship Fest check out the "Bayern Breaker" ride Thursday, June 29, 2017 in Wiesbaden, Germany.The fest, organized by U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, is in its fourth year and open to Germans as well as Americans. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)
A festival worker puts a bumper car back in its starting position at the Wiesbaden German-American Friendship Fest Thursday, June 29, 2017 in Wiesbaden, Germany. Organized by U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, this year's six-day fest should break last year's five-day total of approximately 125,000 visitors.
A festival worker puts a bumper car back in its starting position at the Wiesbaden German-American Friendship Fest Thursday, June 29, 2017 in Wiesbaden, Germany. Organized by U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, this year's six-day fest should break last year's five-day total of approximately 125,000 visitors. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)
The Daemonium, the largest mobile haunted house in Europe, is a new attraction at the 2017 German-American Friendship Fest, organized by U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden.
The Daemonium, the largest mobile haunted house in Europe, is a new attraction at the 2017 German-American Friendship Fest, organized by U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)
Col. Todd Fish, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, speaks to visitors at the opening of the 4th annual German-American Friendship Fest on the Hainerberg housing area in Wiesbaden, Thursday, June 29, 2017. Fish and Wiesbaden mayor Sven Gerich officially declared the fest open after tapping a ceremonial keg of beer.
Col. Todd Fish, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, speaks to visitors at the opening of the 4th annual German-American Friendship Fest on the Hainerberg housing area in Wiesbaden, Thursday, June 29, 2017. Fish and Wiesbaden mayor Sven Gerich officially declared the fest open after tapping a ceremonial keg of beer. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)
Col. Todd Fish, left, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, uses a wooden hammer to tap a keg of beer, aided by Wiesbaden mayor Sven Gerich, Thursday, June 29, 2017 in Wiesbaden, Germany. The tapping of the keg was the ceremonial start to the six-day German-American Friendship Fest, which will culminate with fireworks the night of July 4.
Col. Todd Fish, left, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, uses a wooden hammer to tap a keg of beer, aided by Wiesbaden mayor Sven Gerich, Thursday, June 29, 2017 in Wiesbaden, Germany. The tapping of the keg was the ceremonial start to the six-day German-American Friendship Fest, which will culminate with fireworks the night of July 4. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)

WIESBADEN, Germany — The ceremonial tapping of a beer keg to the sound of a traditional Bavarian drinking song marked the official opening of the 2017 German-American Friendship Fest at the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden’s Hainerberg housing area.

Some 150,000 visitors are expected over the festival’s six days, said USAG Wiesbaden commander Col. Todd Fish. More than 125,000 people streamed through the gates at last year’s five-day-long event.

“The reason why we do this every year is to open up the doors and let our local host nation community come on post and get a taste of what America’s like, and also for our family members who might not go to all the fests around here to see what it’s like,” Fish said.

The fest runs through July 4. It will culminate in a massive fireworks display open to all on the night of the Fourth.

Security will be tight, Fish said, with mandatory bag checks and more roving patrols and plainclothes military. German officers will also be deployed.

One of the major attractions at this year’s event, which will feature food and drink and dozens of new rides and attractions, is the Daemonium. Described by Fish as the largest mobile haunted house in Europe, it certainly passes the eyeball test, with a fortresslike facade that towers over other rides.

Wiesbaden Mayor Sven Gerich, who aided Fish in tapping the ceremonial keg, said he was pleased the fest had established itself as an annual event.

stoutamire.dan@stripes.com

Migrated

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up