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    Community and Culture at the Center of U.S. Navy’s White Beach Festival in Okinawa

    White Beach Festival 2024

    Photo By Candice Barber | WHITE BEACH, Japan (April 14, 2024) White Beach Festival attendees enjoy fire...... read more read more



    Story by Candice Barber 

    Commander, Fleet Activities, Okinawa

    OKINAWA, Japan (April 15, 2024) — More than 14,000 visitors gathered to enjoy White Beach Festival, hosted by Commander, Fleet Activities Okinawa from April 13-14, 2024, at White Beach Naval Facility. As the Navy’s largest event of the year on Okinawa, White Beach Festival combined Okinawan traditions with American and Japanese cultural elements, creating a lively celebration of friendship and freedom.

    "We are privileged to host this event annually and to welcome the local community onto our base. This would not be possible without the support of our Japanese partners — Heshikiya District, Uruma City, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Sub-Area Activity Okinawa. Their friendship is invaluable," said Capt. Patrick Dziekan, Commander, Fleet Activities Okinawa.

    Among the festival's featured attractions were public tours of the Asagiri-class destroyer, JS Hamagiri (DD-155), during which visitors had the opportunity to get a close-up view of naval operations and the sophisticated capabilities of JMSDF. White Beach Festival also featured an array of static displays, including helicopters, fire engines, ambulances, and humvees. The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit highlighted their aviation expertise with AH-1 Cobra and UH-1 Huey helicopters, while their Battalion Landing Team 1/1 displayed cutting-edge military vehicles. Adding to the diversity, the BQM-177A, a subsonic aerial target, was presented by the Pacific Missile Range Facility’s Detachment-Far East.

    Also on prominent display was the collaboration amongst Uruma City, JMSDF, the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps Installations Pacific, U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa, and the U.S. Air Force, whose extensive collection of fire and emergency response vehicles underscored a unified approach to safety.

    Nearly 40 vendors from across the prefecture offered a variety of food, drinks, and festival items, including a local farmers market with agricultural products from Uruma City and surrounding areas. Flyboard demonstrations captivated attendees with their dynamic maneuvers, sometimes up to 40 feet above the waters of White Beach.

    Among the cultural highlights, the Heshikiya Eisa dance group performed traditional Okinawan dances, displaying the rich heritage of the Heshikiya District which surrounds White Beach Naval Facility. Their presence at the festival emphasized the respect and celebration of Okinawan culture, deeply resonating with both local residents and visitors alike.

    Evening entertainment attracted large crowds, with performances by Rebel Souljahz, sponsored through Armed Forces Entertainment, and DJ Celly, a Toyko-based artist who performed during the Tokyo Olympics. The music lineup also included the Okinawan favorite, Kiiyamashouten, a popular band from Ishigaki, adding local flavor to the event. Each night concluded with a laser light show, newly introduced at this year’s festival, adding a colorful high-tech display enjoyed by thousands.

    Exemplifying the commitment to cultural exchange and community connection, White Beach Festival strengthens ties between the Okinawan community and American service members and their families, highlighting the importance of unity and the shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.



    Date Taken: 04.15.2024
    Date Posted: 04.20.2024 06:31
    Story ID: 469018

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