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VILSECK, Germany — Bavarian officials chose to kick off their World Cup campaign in a German town that has a little American flavor.

Chosen for its close relationship with the U.S. military community, Vilseck will be the site of a May 5 celebration that will include soccer games, music and nighttime parties.

The World Cup, which is held every four years, will take place in select Germany cities, such as Munich, Berlin, Frankfurt and Kaiserslautern, in June 2006. But local and state officials wanted to shine a light on some of the smaller towns that won’t be part of the event.

The promotional tour will visit several smaller towns around the state this summer.

“We thought Vilseck, with all the Americans here, would be a good start,” said Betina Mäusel, a member of the Bavarian government’s task force for managing World Cup events. Mäusel and Vilseck mayor Hans-Martin Schertl said they hoped the event would highlight the working relationship the town has with the U.S. military, and enhance the relationship between soldiers and locals.

Servicemembers and their family members have been invited to the May 5 event, which will feature soccer games in walled, 15-by-30-meter fields, music and a nighttime party in the town center, Schertl said.

“Hopefully, I think the Americans will bring some teams,” Mäusel said.

The promotion is expected to draw 8,000 to 10,000 people, making it one of the biggest events in the 6,500-person town’s recent history, Schertl said.


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