BRUSSELS, Belgium - When the annual U.S. Army Garrison Brussels Information Fair began in 1995 it attracted 12 exhibitors and was held in a single room.

This year, on Sept. 10, the Information Fair drew more than 100 agencies from local government, civic organizations, tourist offices, businesses, schools and social clubs and more than 300 attendees.

While the first Information Fair was held in one room, this year's version spread throughout the garrison's buildings. The chapel, library and connecting hallways provided space for the agencies to set up their tables and display their wares and information.

Outside, in the central part of the garrison, the Zaventem Fire Department set up a fire engine and tent to display their equipment and show some of the services they provide. Nearby was the bright-blue Bob Van, its two young workers provided information on driving while intoxicated and allowed participants to try a device that simulated driving drunk.

"All of our available space was used," USAG Brussels commander Lt. Col. Francesca Ziemba said.

The purpose of the Information Fair is to give members of the community a venue where they can meet local people who speak English and who can provide information about living and working in the Brussels area.

Ziemba said the Information Fair provides a unique opportunity to the Soldiers, Families and Civilians who make up the garrison community.

"The Info Fair allows folks, both newcomers and old timers, the opportunity to learn about services, opportunities and recreational opportunities in both the U.S. and Belgian host nation community," Ziemba said. "They're all here in a one-stop shop; most of these are things they'd never find out about on their own even if they religiously read the Benelux Gazette every week or the Brussels Weekly.

Other agencies that participated included the USAG Brussels Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, Safety Office, Plans, Analysis and Integration Office, Chaplain's Office, NATO Marlins Swim Team, Brussels American School Booster Club, colleges and the SHAPE Health Clinic.

Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers held a lunch barbecue where Soldiers sold hot dogs, hamburgers and bratwurst.

Ziemba said she was grateful for the strong participation from local communes, businesses and organizations, especially because they volunteer to participate.

"It's not a money-making opportunity for those who participate, we don't allow sales. Many lose money and lose productivity to come out here so they do it as a good-will gesture to our community," Ziemba said. "I think that speaks volumes about the folks who supported us. We're really grateful for all the people who came and supported us. Special thanks also go to my Director of Family & Morale, Welfare and Recreation and Ms. Cathy Blumenthal the lead action officer."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16