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A group of teenagers get spun around in the "Waltzer" ride during the Fourth of July celebration at RAF Feltwell Monday.

A group of teenagers get spun around in the "Waltzer" ride during the Fourth of July celebration at RAF Feltwell Monday. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)

A group of teenagers get spun around in the "Waltzer" ride during the Fourth of July celebration at RAF Feltwell Monday.

A group of teenagers get spun around in the "Waltzer" ride during the Fourth of July celebration at RAF Feltwell Monday. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)

Master Sgt. Ken Clark, 48th Logistics Readiness Squadron, smacks a double during a softball game at the Fourth of July celebration on RAF Feltwell.

Master Sgt. Ken Clark, 48th Logistics Readiness Squadron, smacks a double during a softball game at the Fourth of July celebration on RAF Feltwell. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)

Tech. Sgt. John Wright, an F-15C crew chief for the 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, and his son, Jared, 7, both man the steering wheel of a bumper car during the Fourth of July celebration at RAF Feltwell.

Tech. Sgt. John Wright, an F-15C crew chief for the 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, and his son, Jared, 7, both man the steering wheel of a bumper car during the Fourth of July celebration at RAF Feltwell. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)

Riders brave the six-legged "Orbiter" at RAF Feltwell.

Riders brave the six-legged "Orbiter" at RAF Feltwell. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)

RAF FELTWELL, England — Twenty-two thousand revelers, 30 rides, 20 food vendors, six months of planning and one week of set-up. That was the basic recipe for the July Fourth celebration — celebrated a day early — at this Norfolk military installation.

The base annually hosts a Fourth of July carnival with games and rides for kids of all ages. The food booths were manned by various on-base organizations as fundraisers.

“This is one of the biggest things we do all year,” said event coordinator Wayne Crockett, who works for the Services Squadron at RAF Lakenheath. “When you see it all come together, it’s a good thing.”

All the festivities were held Monday. Nothing is planned for today.

Hours before guests — American and British alike — filed past the security checkpoint and onto the base, scores of volunteers and contractors scurried about the carnival grounds preparing for the masses.

Mike Grace, 19, of Berkshire, had to go shirtless to avoid overheating as he prepared the Super Bowl ride.

“You know, the Super Bowl, the American rugby championship,” Grace said as he lifted a cover from one of the ride’s carts. “Everywhere we go in England they love this ride.”

Just a few feet away on the midway from the Super Bowl, Chris Summers and his partner set up their booth for a carnival game.

Contestants are provided two bean bags to knock six tin cans off a pedestal to win a 3-foot Tigger doll, a character in the book “Winnie-the-Pooh.”

Summers travels around England throughout the warm months with his booth and has been working the RAF Feltwell July Fourth carnival for nearly a decade.

The holiday may celebrate the States’ independence from England, but Summers said that doesn’t bother him.

“Business is business,” the Norwich man said. “I wasn’t there anyway, so it doesn’t matter to me.”

Nor far from the Summers’ stand, there’s an industrial-sized karaoke stage, a haunted house and a carousel that harkens to a time when carnival rides rarely broke 10 mph.

Monday’s daylong celebration — which costs roughly $50,000 — was to end with a fireworks show lighting up the England sky in tribute to America’s freedom.


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