WIESBADEN, Germany - While most cities in the United States had cancelled their Fourth of July celebrations over COVID-19 concerns, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden hosted a drive-in style fireworks event on the airfield July 4, 2020.
According to Mark Smith, chief of business operations for MWR, 349 vehicles were tallied on the airfield as the 30-minute firework display took place. The display was 10 minutes longer than the normal garrison fireworks.
Included in the audience was the Lord Mayor of Mainz, Michael Ebling. According to Nadine Bower, USAG Wiesbaden community relations specialist, the mayor and his partner wanted to enjoy fireworks too, as most host-nation fireworks have been cancelled this year.
Grace Lauer, center operations manager for the USO, said their organization was happy to give away 1,000 food and goodie bags. The USO staff utilized the airfield’s golf carts to serve the community. In addition, they awarded 75 prize bags to the first 75 cars who set up with patriotic decorations.
Jane Porto-Turner, advertising and sponsorship manager for MWR, hosted a live feed of the event. She conducted trivia contests and also gave away prizes throughout the evening.
Many families opted to stop by the Wiesbaden Entertainment Center for drive-thru barbeque food, including ribs, bratwurst and burgers. While the line was long, event goers had plenty of time for the airfield opening at 8 p.m.
While families waited for the fireworks display to commence, they stayed close to their cars. They enjoyed food, played games and talked at a distance to families in neighboring cars.
Military police patrolled the airfield, enforcing requirements set by the host nation, including social distancing and keeping emergency lanes unobstructed.
AFN broadcast the event and played patriotic music during the fireworks show. The entirety of the fireworks show can be seen on Wiesbaden’s MWR Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WiesbadenArmyMWR/. Additional photographs are available at www.flickr.com/wpao.