Fair provides local travel information, fun, games

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- More than 2,000 Sabers attended the seventh annual Explore the Eifel information and adventure fair May 11 at Club Eifel here.

Explore the Eifel is a partnership building event that brings vendors from throughout the region to Spangdahlem AB to share with Sabers what Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium have to offer for entertainment and activities.

"The fair is a one-stop shop for finding plenty of information about fun activities throughout the beautiful Eifel region," said Col. Chris Weggeman, 52nd Fighter Wing commander. "I hope Sabers come here and fill their summer day planners with exciting events and activities."

Vendors from Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg provided the base community with travel information ranging from hiking trips and hot-air balloon rides to wine tastings and more.

"They have a lot of different things to choose from here," said Staff Sgt. Rodrick Carter, 52nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons loader. "I don't get to do much traveling, so it's great to see all that is offered right outside the base. This is a great way to get out."

The fair provided attendees the opportunity to sign up for adventures, excursions and tours taking place May 18 -19. It also gave them a chance to experience attractions and demonstrations from the Eifel region on base.

"This year's fair is definitely different not only because we've returned to Club Eifel, but because of the entertainment, music and games," Weggeman said.

Among this year's entertainment from the region was:

· Gladiator demonstrations and food
· Break dancing performances
· Historical and craft displays
· Animal interactions, shows and classes
· Games and raffles with prizes
· Photos with a Mosel wine princess

"I've never been to one of these before," said Airman 1st Class Nathaniel Richardson, 52nd Force Support Squadron Military Personnel Section customer support journeyman, as he ate traditional Roman bread provided by the exhibitors. "My supervisor told me to come. I'm glad I did, because I've never seen anything like this. It's a great opportunity to check out Germany's culture and this bread is good ... I've never had Roman bread before."

Along with educating people about the local area and what it has to offer, the fair gave attendees and vendors a chance to also build bonds with one another.

"It's very nice that the Americans and the Germans do something to get to know each other a little better, especially for the Americans that come here who are new and far away from home," said Peter Manns, Explore the Eifel exhibitor and owner of Eifel Incoming Hot-Air Balloon Rides. "We want to make them feel at ease and give them opportunities to get to know the area a little better and welcome them while they're here."