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YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The 55th annual Japanese-American Friendship Festival takes place this weekend along the base’s flight line near Hangar 15.

The two-day event drew about 140,000 people in 2004, base officials say, and they anticipate another large turnout this year.

Activities are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

A variety of U.S. military and Japanese aircraft will be on ground display.

Last year’s selection included the B-52 Stratofortress, C-130 Hercules, C-21A Learjet, F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, KC-135 Stratotanker, MC-130P Combat Shadow, UH-1N Huey and UH-60. Visitors may snap photographs and get a close-up peek at the planes.

Flight demonstrations also are planned throughout the weekend.

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

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

A karate exhibition is set for Saturday, while male and female bodybuilders will appear on the outdoor stage by the base runway Sunday afternoon in the annual Yokota Strong Man Challenge.

A fireworks finale, slated for 8:30 p.m. Sunday, puts a period to the weekend festivities.

Base guests must provide a photo ID and will be allowed to enter Yokota only on foot through the Supply Gate, officials said. Bike racks are available.

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

The Friendship Festival, created to strengthen ties between Japan and the United States, is designed to promote the exchange of friendship, cultures and experiences.

Schedule of events

Saturday

9 a.m.: Gates open; aircraft on static display.9:30 a.m.: Message by Col. Scott Goodwin, Yokota commander.10 a.m.: Aircraft flight demonstrations until 4:30 p.m.; Yokota Samurai Taiko performance; Ammonites (1950s rock).11 a.m.: Pacific Air Forces Band-Pacific Trends; Cracks (rock).Noon Tanabata Dancers; Hot-L (blues and rock).1 p.m.: Gypsy Groove (Latin); Chick Magnets (rock).2 p.m.: Karate demonstration; E-Skalator.3 p.m.: Zen (rock).3:30 p.m.: Mika with Clotted Cream (pop).4 p.m.: Van Hey-san, a Van Halen tribute band.5 p.m.: Fazzy Control (rock).5:30 p.m.: Baba Mania (rock).6 p.m.: Gospel Connection Choir.7 p.m.: Eisa-taiko, Okinawa traditional drums demonstration; Electric Warrior (rock).9 p.m.: Gates close.Sunday


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