By Jonathan Orchart, USAG Baden-Wuerttemberg Public AffairsJuly 1, 2010
HEIDELBERG, Germany - Although an ocean exists between the Baden-WAfA1/4rttemberg military communities and the United States, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation will bring American traditions ashore through activities as robust as the fireworks expected to fly this Fourth of July.
However, members of the Heidelberg, Mannheim and Kaiserslautern communities can expect more than fireworks commemorating Independence Day.
At the PHV Park in Heidelberg, the celebration begins at 4 p.m. and includes live music by the U.S. Army Europe Chorus and Jimmy's Souliquity, winner of the 2010 Battle of the Bands.
As with celebrations in the United States, a number of foods and beverages will be available at the park. Even a pie-eating contest lines the menu.
"The programs definitely bring the community together in one central location," MWR Marketing Assistant Danielle Jackson said. "There aren't many big events in the community, but on this day everyone comes together for picnics and fireworks. It's a good morale booster and lets community members enjoy being American with activities such as the pie-eating contest."
Community members may also test their aim at the dunk tank sponsored by Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, or compete in a beach volleyball tournament.
If more inclined to test one's luck, individuals can participate in a number of raffles and prize giveaways.
Once darkness meets the sky, a large fireworks display will commence and illuminate the surroundings. In addition, a salute to all 50 states will take place.
Those wishing to join the merriment on PHV can use a special shuttle bus service visiting each Heidelberg post.
To Jackson, the festivity will capture the spirit of Independence Day.
"Our emcee last year presented American trivia, so it was not only fun but people could learn history as well.
We also had live music like this year, where the USAREUR Chorus had a swing sextet and played popular American songs.
We'll also have decorations like at traditional Fourth of July celebrations, so people can feel like they're at home," Jackson said.
After the fireworks come to an end, community members ages 18 and older may begin yet another celebration at Legends' Fourth of July After Party from 10 p.m.-2 a.m.
Members of the Mannheim community may also relish in more than hot dogs and hamburgers by participating in the programs made specifically for the Independence Day carnival at the German-American Summer Fest near the Mannheim Theater.
In addition to a variety of disk jockeys, the Doug Adkins Band, rides and giveaways, community members may listen to the Pledge of Allegiance recited by elementary school students and the national anthem to be sung by the teen and adult winners of Mannheim Idol.
"I believe the community will enjoy the aura of the carnival for the Fourth of July, the activities inside of the tent, and the giving out of patriotic items for visitors," Christopher Clemens, director of MWR Mannheim, said.
Fireworks, accompanied by patriotic music, will follow these diversions beginning at 10:45 p.m.
According to Clemens, the explosions in the sky "can put a tear in people's eyes."
Those in the Kaiserslautern military community may partake in the Independence Day celebration at the Ramstein Air Base beginning at 2 p.m. on Ramp 6.
Individuals can enjoy a number of activities including a dog show, a baking contest, live entertainment and the Kaiserslautern Military Community Idol Competition.
Fireworks will touch the sky beginning at 10:30 p.m. Those in need of transportation may take advantage of a shuttle bus to and from the Ramstein Base Exchange beginning at 1:30 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. the next day.
While not currently present in the United States, individuals may experience a taste of home this Fourth of July in much more than one way.
This year, not even an ocean can prevent a memorable Independence Day packed with delicious food, music, games and more from reaching the Baden-WAfA1/4rttemberg military communities.