The show must go on

Fireworks go off in front of a crowd of 349 vehicles on Wiesbaden Army Airfield for the drive-in event July 4.

Garrison celebrates July 4 with drive-in fireworks event

While most cities in the United States 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.

According to Mark Smith, chief of business operations for Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, 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.

Grace Lauer, center operations manager for the USO, distributes food and goodie bags to spectators on the airfield July 4. The USO staff distributed 1,000 food and goodie bags to families at the event. Larger bags were given as prizes to the first 75 cars set up with patriotic decorations.

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.

While dad sits in the driver’s seat of his parked pickup truck, the children wait on top of the cab for the fireworks to begin at the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Independence Day celebration July 4.

Jane Porto-Turner, advertising and sponsorship manager for FMWR, 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 barbecue food, including ribs, bratwurst and burgers. The line was long, but event goers had plenty of time for the airfield opening at 8 p.m.


While waiting for the fireworks to commence, a family plays card games in the back of their pickup truck.

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.

Photos by Lisa Bishop/USAG Wiesbaden Public Affairs
The Wiesbaden Entertainment Center drive-thru serves barbecue food, including ribs, bratwurst and burgers to event goers July 4. Many families picked up barbecue and drove to the airfield on Clay Kaserne to enjoy their traditional fare followed by a half hour long fireworks display.

AFN broadcast the event and played patriotic music during the fireworks show. The entire show can be seen on Wiesbaden’s FMWR Facebook page at