Sasebo rocks ’em for Fourth of July
July 5, 2005
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Thousands of local guests and base personnel mingled among food booths, carnival games, live music and dance performances, despite overcast skies that threatened to spoil Sasebo Naval Base’s Independence Day Celebration on Sunday afternoon.
Gates opened at 11 a.m. and by early afternoon more than 3,000 visitors had entered the main gate, said Lt. j.g. Alphonso Navarro, base security officer.
Sunday’s event, which had a block party theme, was held almost entirely on base, in contrast to previous years’ events at Nimitz Park.
Visitors flocked to the USS Essex and USS Juneau for ship tours, traditionally a popular attraction at open-base events.
And those crowds were a definite boon for the fund-raising efforts of the booths lining California Drive.
“We’re seeing a really good turnout … a lot better than last year,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Guy Gagui, who with Chief Petty Officer Wendell James kept their grill sizzling and covered with chicken fillets and sausages they sold to raise funds for Sasebo’s next Navy Day Ball.
“Of course, last year we had a downpour all day, which had a big impact. But today they are keeping us very busy,” he added.
But Sunday’s event was more than just booths selling food and T-shirts, entertainment both Western and Asian flavored the day.
Performances by the rock band International Superstars of Rock, which played a wide range of classic rock tunes, several Yosakoi dance teams and the Saikai Shimamori Taiko Drummers also performed throughout the event.
Other entertainment Sunday evening included the bearded Superstars of Rock playing a ZZ Top tribute set, followed by Baby Girl performing a Beyonce tribute.
Festivities ended Sunday night with a fireworks display above Juliet Basin.