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Pacific edition, Thursday, August 16, 2007

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The 57th annual Japanese-American Friendship Festival takes place Aug. 25-26 in Hangar 15 and along Yokota’s flight line near the south end of the runway.

The two-day event could attract up to 150,000 visitors, base officials predict. Activities are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day.

“Community relations and interacting with our Japanese neighbors is extremely important,” said Air Force Col. Anne Morris, a U.S. Forces Japan spokeswoman at Yokota. “Yokota’s Friendship Festival, along with open houses by other USFJ installations and port-call visits by our U.S. Navy ships, are phenomenal events.

“They give us a chance to share our culture and our mission with our Japanese friends and neighbors. And for many of our Japanese visitors, it may be the only time of the year when they can come to our bases and posts and ships and see what we do every day in support of the alliance.”

A variety of U.S. military and Japanese aircraft will be on static display. The selection is expected to include the C-130 Hercules, C-12J Huron, F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, UH-1N Huey, UH-60 Black Hawk and different tankers. Visitors may snap photographs and get a close-up peek at the planes.

Flight demonstrations by the C-130, C-12 and UH-1N also are planned throughout the weekend.

A traveling display honoring the Air Force’s 60th anniversary will be at the festival, said Capt. Christopher Watt, a 374th Airlift Wing spokesman.

Live entertainment featuring rock, hip-hop, blues, gospel and Latin music will emanate from outdoor and indoor stages. Performances by the U.S. Air Force Band of the Pacific-Asia, Yokota Samurai taiko team and Tanabata Dancers are on tap as well.

Base officials said more than 200 booths are being set up in the festival area, complete with entertainment, games and concessions.

A karate exhibition is scheduled for Aug. 25. A day later, the popular Yokota Strong Man Challenge will unfold on the outdoor stage at noon.

Fireworks shows are slated for both days at 8:25 p.m.

Yokota officials said the base would take adequate security precautions ahead of the friendship festival.

Guests must provide photo identification and may enter Yokota only on foot through the Supply Gate, officials said. Bike racks are available.

Status-of-forces-agreement personnel will not be allowed to sign in visitor’s vehicles on either day of the festival.

Hazardous objects, pets, glass bottles, alcohol and coolers are among prohibited items. All bags will be checked at the gate.

The Friendship Festival was created in 1951 to strengthen ties between Japan and the United States. It’s designed to promote the exchange of friendship, cultures and experiences.

“It takes a lot of teamwork and hard work to put on an event of this size safely and successfully,” Morris said. “There’s no doubt when you see Americans and Japanese interacting and having a good time that the effort is all worth it.”

Visit http://www.yokota.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=9137 for more information about the open-base event.

Schedule of events

Saturday 9 a.m.: Supply Gate opens; aircraft on static display

9:30 a.m.: Remarks by Col. John Newell III, Yokota commander

10 a.m.: C-130, C-12 and UH-1N flight demonstrations until 4 p.m.; Yokota Samurai taiko team performance; Memento Sonus (rock)

11 a.m.: Joy So-ran (dance); The B-Siders (rock)

Noon: Versity (kids dance/hip-hop); Zen (rock)

1 p.m.: Hot-L (rock); Electric Warrior (rock)

2 p.m.: T-Jam Session Live; battle of the bands (final at 4:30 p.m.)

3 p.m.: Karate demonstration

4 p.m.: Angel Kids Dance Show

5 p.m.: Gypsy Groove (Latin); CLARABELL (rock)

6 p.m.: The E-Skalators; My Johnsons (rock)

7 p.m.: U.S. Air Force Band of the Pacific-Asia; Rei Mastrogiovanni (rock)

8:25 p.m.: Fireworks show

9 p.m.: Supply Gate closes

Sunday 9 a.m.: Supply Gate opens; aircraft on static display; C-130, C-12 and UH-1N flight demonstrations until 4 p.m.

9:30 a.m.: Message from Col. John Newell III, Yokota commander

10 a.m.: 21 Blades (rock)

11 a.m.: Tanabata Dancers; Slanted (rock)

Noon: Max Blues (blues); 4th annual Yokota Strong Man Challenge

1 p.m.: Rize 30 (hip-hop dance)

2 p.m.: Nanami Yumihara (pop)

3 p.m.: Fussa-ko So-ran (dance); Van Hey-san, a Van Halen tribute band

4 p.m.: Cats-Ai (kids dance); Far East Band

5 p.m.: Okinawa Taiko drums; Kabukimono (rock)

6 p.m.: Gospel Connections Choir; Fuzzy Control (rock)

7 p.m.: Yokota Samurai taiko team performance; PACAF Band (tentative)

8:20 p.m.: National anthems

8:25 p.m.: Fireworks show

9 p.m.: Supply Gate closes

Note: Schedule is subject to change.

How to get there

The festival takes place in Hangar 15 and along the flight line near the south end of Yokota’s runway. McGuire Avenue will be closed to vehicle traffic from the Supply Gate to Walker Boulevard on the base’s east side. Parking is very limited, so organizers recommend using the base shuttle. Buses will run throughout the day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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