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The Navy Exchange at Sasebo Naval Base, Japan, is already decked out with Christmas decorations, and soon much of the rest of the base will be decorated with bright lights, figurines, holly and candy-cane ribbon.
The Navy Exchange at Sasebo Naval Base, Japan, is already decked out with Christmas decorations, and soon much of the rest of the base will be decorated with bright lights, figurines, holly and candy-cane ribbon. (Greg Tyler / S&S)

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — This holiday season, Sasebo’s community will be all dressed up and will be the place to go.

The base’s first Holiday Lighting Contest is planned for December, a base official said Monday. The contest area will encompass the main gate to base headquarters at the end of Hirase Peninsula.

The goal of the contest, slated to take place annually, is “to promote holiday spirit as well as dress up the base for our community to enjoy … giving commands and groups a chance to team-build,” said Cmdr. Bernard Wang, Sasebo’s chief staff officer.

Areas available for decorating include the fire department’s new building on California Avenue, the Community and Education Center, MacArthur Esplanade, Sailing and Outdoor Adventure Center, Port Operations, Bachelor Enlisted and Bachelor Officer housing towers, Assault Craft Unit 1, the Human Resources/Stars and Stripes/Navy Legal Services building, American Forces Network and Harbor View Club.

Commanding officers, officers-in-charge, department heads and organizations have been asked to encourage participation, Wang said.

“We encourage all ships, tenants, base departments, community groups and even individuals to decorate,” he said.

The two contest categories are large areas/buildings and small areas/trees. Larger organizations can adopt an area along California Avenue and smaller organizations or individuals can adopt a tree.

A panel representing major commands and organizations will judge the contest based on overall artistic impression, creativity and safety, Wang said, adding that prizes have yet to be determined.

“Most bases back in the States I’ve seen … you see a little decorating in housing areas, but that’s about it,” said Chief William Stackhouse, newly arrived to Sasebo’s Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan, Regional Fire Department. “This will be much more festive.”

Registration is open through Sunday, Wang said. Registered commands and groups are required to attend a meeting Monday, at a time to be announced, concerning rules and safety requirements, and decorating projects must be completed by Dec. 11, he said.

“My goal this year, since it’s the first year, is just to see it happen; and I want to see the community become involved,” Wang said. “It will make the holidays more like the season that many of us are accustomed to as well as share our culture with our Japanese friends.”

Call Wang at DSN 252-3456 to register or for more information.

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