Kaiserslautern celebrates International Year with Americans

by Petra Lessoing
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

“International Year 2011 — Integration through Knowledge” is the theme of a series of lectures and events sponsored by the City of Kaiserslautern. The U.S. will be highlighted from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Fruchthalle in Kaiserslautern.

Five nations — Turkey, China, the Commonwealth of Independent States CIS, India and Africa — already had the opportunity to present their country and personal integration stories in public shows.

“The United States will close out this series under the motto ‘USA: Partner – Fellow Citizens – Friends.’ It is an infotainment show featuring U.S.-oriented music, dancing, sports, interviews, business information on local American companies and food sampling,” said Andrea Oliver from SWK, the City Works Kaiserslautern, who helped organize the event.

Michael Geib, director of the Ramstein docu-center, will give a short lecture on Americans and their influence on the region.

The first interview partner on stage will be Lt. Gen. Frank Gorenc, 3rd Air Force and KMC commander.

“We also invited members of German-American clubs, Fisher House, USO and business people for interviews and performers to take care of the entertaining elements of the event,” Oliver said.

U.S. Air Forces in Europe’s band Wings of Dixie will present a repertory as well as Waymond Harding, a renowned American singer who lives in the local area. The Pikes, a Kaiserslautern football team, and their cheerleaders will entertain the audience with their skills. There will be a square dance and a rope skipping demonstration.

Local American companies, offices and institutions will have information booths. Ground floor exhibits will highlight a student project by the German American and International Women’s Club, projects by Terese Sarno from Department of Defense Dependents Schools and the Opel factory.

“The Army is in charge of decorating Fruchthalle with American flags so visitors right away will see that is our American night,” Oliver said.

Doors will open at 5 p.m., and a pre-show with a film of America presented by the U.S. Consulate will begin at 5:30. The stage show will start at 6 p.m. There will be no admission fee.

“Kaiserslautern wants to foster integration, make encounters possible, promote dialogues and truly live internationality in our International Year,” said Lord Mayor Dr. Klaus Weichel in his official invitation. “I wish all of our visitors interesting, impressing and exciting hours.”