WIESBADEN, Germany – The 6th German-American Friendship Fest opened with a joint keg-tapping on Lower Hainerberg, June 30, 2022. Garrison Commander Col. Mario Washington, alongside a variety of media representatives and numerous VIPs, including the Westhessen Police President, Stefan Mueller, Tommy Mize, Director of Installation Management Command Directorate-Europe and the Lord Mayor of the City of Wiesbaden, Gert-Uwe Mende – all joined in for a tour of the festival grounds and celebrated the return of this community event.
At 2 p.m. sharp, Washington and Mende jointly tapped the first keg of beer. This was followed by the traditional exclamation "O'zapft is!" ("It is tapped!") from Mende – officially opening the Friendship Fest weekend.
After the last German-American Friendship Fest in 2018 on Hainerberg, Clay Kaserne has been opened once for a Berlin Airlift celebration in 2019. In 2020 and 2021 though, the festival had to be cancelled due to the COVID pandemic. Thus, at the opening this year, it was easy to see the joy and great relief among the attendees in celebrating the return of the festival.
"The German-American Friendship Fest is finally back! I am very excited and a little bit sad at the same time, because this is not only my first fest, but also my last fest already, since I will change command in a few days,” said Washington in his opening remarks.
The German-American Friendship Fest is an annual opportunity for the Garrison to open its gates to our German neighbors. With plenty of schnitzel and hamburgers abound, accompanied by German and American music -- Americans and their neighbors celebrate and feast together. In addition, a large number of thrilling rides offer plenty of fun for young and old.
“On behalf of the citizens of Wiesbaden, I would like to thank you and the entire organizing team for creating the opportunity for Germans and Americans to celebrate together again here on Hainerberg,” said Mende.
The German-American Friendship Festival runs through American Independence Day on July 4 and traditionally ends around 10:45 p.m. with a large fireworks display.