By Ana HendersonDecember 2, 2019
Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) is getting ready to pull out all the stops for its biggest celebration yet.
"The commander's vision on this is pretty simple. He wants to get out to the Yuma community to let them know what we do here at YPG and to thank them for all the support over the years," explains YPG's Family Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (FMWR) Director Rick Bessett.
Similar to YPG's 75th Anniversary celebration, the installation is opening the doors and welcoming the community. Along with the open house showcasing the static displays of testing equipment, the legendary band Grand Funk Railroad will be the headlining entertainment.
YPG's FMWR enlisted Army Entertainment for their services. "They are doing all the staging and all the lighting. It's going to be absolutely fantastic." Army Entertainment produces shows around the world at large installations and now they are bringing those top of the line services to Yuma.
FMWR has not settled on a local band for the mid-afternoon show, but will bring back the crowd-pleasing Manhattan Dolls for the opening act. Miss Yuma and Miss Teen Yuma along with Miss Yuma County and Miss Teen Yuma County will also make an appearance. Other entertainment lined up includes a K-9 stunt show, demonstrations with the Predator drone, and local marching bands.
"We are going to fill the day with activities from 10 in the morning until 7 p.m. at night when the fireworks start. It going to be a fun-filled day," says Bessett.
The Military Freefall School, a tenant of YPG, will play an important role at the celebration, jumping in the flag during the opening ceremony. Bessett is also hoping to secure a fly-over but that is not set in stone. What he does have scheduled for sure, "There is going to be an outstanding fireworks show to close out the celebration."
This event will have something for all ages including a kids' zone, zip line, and food and non-food vendors. Bessett notes there are still vendor and sponsorship opportunities available. Those interested can call 928-328-2020, the official YPG 2020 hotline. For updates the official website is www.YPG2020.com.
Bessett gives a huge thank you for MGM Design out of Yuma, whose team has worked closely with the YPG Marketing team to create a website and also other sponsors who have already pledged their support: The Yuma International Airport, TRAX Test Services, Shearwater Mission Support, IHG Army Hotel and Michael's Military Housing.
"Those people who support us are so important to make this happen."
The YPG 2020 celebration is taking place on the YPG installation on the Howard Cantonment. The gates open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., on Saturday, Feb. 15, and is free to attend.