MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Residents discovered different sides of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, in an afternoon full of live entertainment, prize giveaways and service booths during the Iwakuni Expo at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, Sept. 9, 2017.
The expo, which has been going on for more than 10 years, gives residents an idea of the services, resources and benefits available to them on base and around the community, such as fitness programs offered by Health Promotions and trips to popular tourist destinations organized by Information Tours & Travel.
“This picks up where the Welcome Aboard brief leaves off with people, where they can get introduced to Iwakuni inside and outside the base,” said Sarah Gureck, Professional and Personal Development advisor with Marine and Family Programs. “It’s a great way to get to know the community and for people to just really know what’s out there.”
Residents from around the air station wandered across rows of colorfully decorated, informative booths. Each station is loaded with pamphlets, some with candy and free takeaway items, but all had friendly smiles held by those ready to spread the word about their respective service.
Marine Corps Community Services was also present to discuss job openings and held interviews.
All the while, performances by Japanese locals and fitness instructors added entertainment throughout the event.
“We had ballroom dancers from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force to show one aspect of the community, and then we had our own Marine Corps Community Services Health Promotions hosting Zumba and kickboxing to show off what’s available at Iron Works,” said Gureck.
Hundreds of dollars worth of prizes were offered and won in a raffle. Outdoor gear, ski passes, concert tickets, gift cards and more were won by lucky residents who simply signed their names up at the entrance.
As Gureck also said, the expo allowed people to meet and become more familiar with the community, which was especially beneficial to those who just moved to MCAS Iwakuni.
“We’re new to the area so I wanted to see what there is to do, learn a little bit more and win ski tickets,” said Danielle Jordan, a station resident. “We really enjoyed it. The kids had fun, and we got lots of free stuff and tons of information. I’ve learned that there is a lot to do relatively close. I was under the impression Iwakuni was pretty remote and far out, but there’s a lot of stuff not too far away to go see and do.”