FLEACT Yokosuka celebrates 20th annual Spring Festival
Fleet Activities (FLEACT), Yokosuka welcomed the public as it celebrated its 20th Annual Spring Festival, March 24.
According to Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) and Yokosuka city officials, more than 29,000 Japanese residents came onto the base which gave them a chance to interact with Sailors and the FLEACT, Yokosuka community. Events included live entertainment, ship tours, carnival games, a football game and American food.
Yokosuka City Mayor Yuto Yoshida and Commander, FLEACT, Yokosuka (CFAY) Capt. David Owen addressed the crowd during the opening ceremony.
“The U.S. - Japan Spring Festival has served for many years to draw people together from Yokosuka city and the surrounding community,” said Yoshida. “I believe this as a truly meaningful celebration for Yokosuka city.”
“Thank you all for coming to visit our base today on this wonderful occasion to celebrate the great friendship between Yokosuka City and the U.S. Navy in the beautiful atmosphere naturally decorated with beautiful cherry blossoms. I am proud to welcome you all,” said Owen. “It seems like only yesterday that we were here enjoying the last year’s blooms.”
Guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89) welcomed almost 5,000 visitors aboard during tours of the ship, according to Command Master Chief Steven Synder.
“I think it was a win/win situation for the U.S. and the Japanese,” Synder said. “The Japanese got to see our ship and it gave my Sailors a chance to see how much they’reappreciated by the Japanese people.”
Elaine Ross, a family member who arrived here last October said this event was her first open base festival in Japan.
“I was in Norfolk before this,” Ross said. “It was a closed base; they never did anything like this. It’s really neat to bring the Japanese people here.”
Maggie Constantino, who is also a family member, said it was also her first festival here.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for the Japanese to interact with the American’s on base,” Constantino said. “I think it’s great that they came, and are enjoying the festival and are enjoying the different types of food. I think the camaraderie between the Americans and the Japanese is great.”
MWR and the 7th Fleet Band “Orient Express” provided live musical entertainment on stages next to the Bowling Center. Also performing live music was the Zen Band, and the Takeyama Taiko drummers from the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force. Eagle 810 radio broadcasted live on location, and several local dance troupes showcased their dancing talents for the audience to enjoy.
The Yokosuka Seahawks, a local amateur football team, played an exhibition game against a team of cadets from the National Defense Academy of Japan. The Seahawks won 22 – 6.
Spring Festival is held annually in March. Due to budget cuts affecting the Department of Defense, the festivals scheduled for both housing areas, have been cancelled. CFAY is awaiting word on whether or not funds will be made available for Yokosuka’s Friendship Day, scheduled for August.