Guide to celebrating July 4th in Europe
How better to celebrate the Fourth of July than with thousands of Italian friends?
Caserma Ederle in Vicenza annually opens its gates to let members of the local community celebrate America’s Independence Day. This year’s celebration, dubbed La Sagra Americana, is on July 3-4.
“We’re doing it a little bit different than we have from the last several years,” said Peggy Schadler, chief of marking for Morale, Welfare and Recreation in Vicenza.
There’s a parade on July 4 and entertainment on two stages instead of just one. There will also be soccer and softball contests Sunday between Italian and American teams as well as horseshoe and boccia competitions.
“We’re kind of trying to make it hometown America as well as hometown Italy,” Schadler said.
Activities begin at 4 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday and run to midnight, with the Italians able to come through the gates at 4 p.m. each day.
Highlights include hot dog- and pie-eating contests and a watermelon seeds spitting event. The fireworks start at 10 p.m. on July 4 following the salute to the nation, where flags from the 50 states are presented.
Elsewhere, a German swimming pool operator is hosting a Family Day pool party for Americans and Germans on Saturday at the Rebstockbad in Frankfurt.
The event, which will include beach volleyball, indoor and outdoor water games, a barbecue and music, will be from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Entrance is 8 euros per family, according to a news release from the sponsors.
The July Fourth weekend event is sponsored by Bader Betriebe Frankfurt and McKinley Entertainment, an American concert and party promotion group. A McKinley spokesman said the party’s purpose is to promote unity between American and German families and to thank U.S. servicemembers for their efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Rebstock pool will also have an adult party the same day starting at 9 p.m.
For more details, contact the pool manager, Alexander Mitschke, at 069-21348110, by fax at 069-21348111 or e-mail at email@example.com. Details also available through McKinley Suell III at 0160-6847989 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A look at some of the other Fourth of July events throughout Europe:
BeneluxBrunssum: The 2005 Tri-Border Independence Day celebrations will be held in Brunssum on Saturday and will feature live bands, sports events, kiddie rides and games, vintage vehicles, food and refreshment, a 5K run, and a motorcycle poker run. The festivities, which get under way at 1 p.m., are open to U.S. and NATO ID cardholders.
Brussels: A full day of activities is planned for Saturday, starting at noon. The fun continues until 6 p.m. at the Brussels American School.
Chievres: The SHAPE/Chievres community will have a variety of live entertainment in a special fest tent on Saturday from noon until 11 p.m. at the shopping area on SHAPE. Food booths, carnival rides, live rock bands, karaoke, climbing walls, a singing contest, and children’s magic show are just a sampling of the day’s happenings. Fireworks start at 11 p.m.
EnglandFeltwell: RAF Lakenheath, RAF Mildenhall, and RAF Feltwell will celebrate on Sunday with a fun run beginning at 10 a.m. Carnival rides, food stands, pony rides and other events kick off at noon and continue until midnight at RAF Feltwell. A live band and DJs will keep the mood upbeat from afternoon to early evening. Fireworks start at 10 p.m.
West Ruislip: Commander Naval Activities United Kingdom kicks off its celebration at 3 p.m. Friday. Saturday’s celebrations begin at 1 p.m. and include motorbike stunts, a pipe band, and live music. On Sunday, dog and falconry display teams will demonstrate their skills, and the sounds of live music will fill the air. Both Friday and Saturday’s events will close with fireworks at 10:30 p.m.
GermanyAnsbach/Illesheim: A Community Freedom Fest takes place Monday from 3 to 10:45 p.m. in the Illesheim Theater parking lot. There will be carnival rides and game booths, free bowling, barbecue and beverages. At 7 p.m., “Beyond Glory,” the stories of seven Medal of Honor recipients, will be presented at the James S. Fields movie theater. Fireworks go up at 10:30 p.m. A free shuttle service between Ansbach and Katterbach will be available.
Babenhausen: The community’s Independence Day celebration kicks off at 6 p.m. Monday behind the chapel. Enjoy music, food, children’s games and a fireworks display at dusk.
Bamberg: Family day will take place in Friendship Park on Monday from 4 p.m. to midnight. Come out and enjoy food and refreshments, a dunking booth, face painting and music with the band Washington Trio 2000 and DJ Selvira. Fireworks will begin around 10 p.m.
Baumholder: Starting at noon Monday, patriotism meets international cooperation, when German polizei will be on hand to spread an important message about safe driving. Kids can meanwhile enjoy a jumping castle. The Fourth of July party itself begins at 6 p.m. at Minnick Field, and includes a fest tent and stage, the grilling of plenty of hamburgers and hot dogs, and the contemporary soul band Empire. At 10 p.m., fireworks will begin over the multi-purpose sports field.
Darmstadt: The community celebrates behind the middle school in Lincoln Village. Celebrations begin at 6 p.m. and will include music, food, children’s games and a fireworks display at dusk.
Giessen: A German-American Volksfest will be held Thursday through Monday at Roman Way Housing Area on the Sports Field in Butzbach. There’ll be plenty of foods and beverages. DJs will entertain in the afternoon, while live bands will play in the fest tent every evening. Rides will be offered from 1-6 p.m. Monday, with fireworks beginning at 10 p.m.
Grafenwöhr: The community will celebrate 95 years of the training area, 60 years of the U.S. Army in Grafenwöhr, and the 50th anniversary of Bundeswehr in Grafenwöhr. At 6 p.m. Thursday, enjoy music and “Eintopf” at the Marienplatz in downtown Grafenwöhr, followed by a parade to the water tower. On July 3, enjoy folk, dance and sporting performances. Kids can check out the jumping castle, climbing tower, and trampolines, while adults will like sampling Brotkuchen, wild boar; potato pancakes, and more traditional Fourth fare. On July 4, fireworks go up in Vilseck at Little Mike Lake beginning at 10:30 p.m. and in Grafenwöhr at the bowling center at 11 p.m.
Hanau: An all-American Independence Day bash will be held in Hanau starting at 3 p.m. Monday at Pioneer Kaserne. The day will include the Frankfurt Galaxy cheerleaders, live musical performances, and spectacular fireworks display. There’ll be face painting for the kids and Xtreme Bungee Jumping for the adults. Cold beverages will be served long into the night.
Heidelberg: Festivities will start at 4 p.m. Monday in the park area behind the Patrick Henry Village library. The bash starts with an open-air DJ in the park, while the MWR Food Booth will serve up traditional barbecue fare. Kids will enjoy games, contests, and giant inflated bouncers while their parents browse through an arts and crafts market. At 8:30 p.m., the official ceremonies begin with a salute to the each of the fifty states and a performance by the USAREUR Chorus on the outdoor covered stage. At 10:30 p.m., the fireworks will begin.
Mannheim: From Friday through July 10, Mannheim hosts its annual German-American Summer Fest. There will be rides, live entertainment and plenty of stands offering food and drink. The fest takes place in the Benjamin Franklin Village Bowling Center parking lot. The sound of fireworks will ring through the air on Friday and Monday at 10:30 p.m.
Ramstein: Ramstein Air Base is offering three days of fun at its big bash, the Freedom Fest, Saturday through Monday. Activities include carnival rides, food booths, children’s games and activities, a DJ sound stage, and lots of prize drawings. At 9 a.m. Saturday, the Chiefs and Eagles will face off in a softball tournament at Southside Fitness Center softball field. At 2 p.m., the Frankfurt Galaxy Cheerleaders will make an appearance. Live entertainment in the fest tent will be offered throughout the evening on both Saturday and Sunday. Catch NASCAR board races at 2 p.m. Monday, and a fireworks display will end the perfect day at 10:15 p.m.
Schweinfurt: The community celebrations will run Saturday through Monday at Kessler Field. On Saturday, take part in a 5 or 10 K fun run, horseshoe tournament, or strong man/woman contest. Musical entertainment will be provided by the Space Cowboys. On Sunday, tennis and beach volleyball tournaments will be held. On Monday, turn out to see the community softball championship game and a special salute to the state flags. There will be carnival rides for the kids, and fireworks will round out the festivities on Monday.
Spangdahlem: The 49th Big Annual Summer Happening will be held at French Kaserne in Bitburg. The event runs from Thursday through Monday, and will include carnival rides, games, a jalapeno eating contest, arm wrestling, and a family scavenger hunt. Fireworks go up at 10:30 p.m. Monday.
Stuttgart: A four-day rodeo is planned at Robinson Barracks starting Friday. There will also be live music, food, beverages, and of course, fireworks, which start at 10 p.m. Monday.
Wiesbaden: Celebrate the Fourth of July with food, fun and fireworks at Wiesbaden Army Airfield. The festivities kick off at 4 p.m. Monday, with fireworks at 10:30 p.m. Activities include music, games, bull rides, carnival rides for kids and more. Look for special appearances by Uncle Sam and Doodle Do Rooster.
Würzburg: The community will start its celebration starting Friday at Leighton Barracks. The fun starts at 2 p.m. with a children’s circus including jugglers, magicians and fire-breathers, who will perform throughout the day. Bouncy castles, adult carnival rides and games, and live bands including the 1st Infantry Division Band, are sure to keep all entertained. Military ceremonies begin about 9 p.m., with fireworks rounding out the evening.
ItalyAviano: A celebration is scheduled for Sunday and Monday at Freedom Park behind the Aviano Dragon Fitness Center. From noon to midnight, there will be carnival rides, food booths, and live music. Special events include a Chiefs vs. Eagles softball tournament starting at 9 a.m. Monday, hot dog and watermelon eating contests, a chili cook-off and carnival rides. Fireworks go up at 10 p.m. Monday.
Camp Darby: The American Beach, four miles from Camp Darby, will offer food, festivities and fireworks for a fabulous Fourth.
Naples: Naval Support Activity Naples will hold its celebration on Friday at Carney Park. The American-style celebration will include hamburgers and hot dogs and a 30 minutes of fireworks. The fun starts at 3 p.m. and will feature food stands, amusement rides for children, and a flea market featuring local vendors.
Sigonella: Naval Air Station Sigonella will hold a “Freedom Fest” on Naval Air Station I beginning on Friday. Then, on Saturday and Sunday, enjoy carnival rides, games and contests. Catch the music of bands such as Pearls of the Pacific, which plays traditional Polynesian music, or the classic rock band YVAN. On Sunday, the carnival rides will remain in place from 4 p.m. until midnight. Turn out early on Monday to enjoy music and free gelati before the fireworks light up the skies at 8 p.m.
Vicenza: La Segra Americana takes place July 3 and 4 at Caserma Ederle. Activities on Saturday include a travel fair, hot dog- and pie-eating contests, a teen pageant, live country and rock music, a fishing booth, face painting, a fire-eater and bubble sculptor, and softball and soccer games pitting the Italians against the Americans. On Monday, there will be more live music, a tribute to Elvis, an all-star bakeoff, karaoke, a magic show, a parade, and of course, fireworks, which will go up at 10 p.m.
PortugalLajes Field, Azores: Events will take place at the 65th Security Forces Squadron Fields, near Bldg. T-819. From 5 p.m., food booths, games, and music will keep the gang busy. At 9 p.m., the Jenny Boyle Band will perform. Fireworks will be launched at 10:30 p.m.
SpainRota: Naval Station Rota will hold its celebrations at Port Park on Friday. A parade with floats and military units will kick off the celebration at 4 p.m. Throughout the day, enjoy live music, food stands, sporting events, a car show, games, activities, and an apple dessert cook off. The fireworks will take place at 11 p.m.
TurkeyIncirlik: Celebrations take place on Saturday, starting at 5 p.m. at Arkadas Park. On the schedule is a 5 K fun run, 3-on-3 basketball tournament, food stands, game booths, musical acts, and a performance by the Missoula Children’s Theater. Fireworks will be set off at 9 p.m.