Amerikafest - Beef Jerky & Politics at Brandenburg Gate
I was here on Saturday, and let me just say that they had only planned for around 100,000 people to show up. German Police estimates show that about 250,000 showed up and took part in the festivities. I love the fact that he mentioned the Bi-partisan tent - because I was in the Democrats Abroad side.
Weather: solid 83° Fahrenheit. Crowd: Tempelhof-groupies and EasyJet-set. Food: German, served with Stars & Stripes. Welcome to Amerikafest 2008.
Now open to the common people, the new American Embassy in Berlin. And by open we mean you may now enter the twenty meters security zone and touch the sand colored granite walls of this maximum-security diplomatic outpost. Sources say, it’s so secure in there, the ambassador has to use the restrooms of Hotel Adlon next door, because no one knows where they are located in the Embassy.
Yesterday, Angela Merkel and George H.W. Bush went to see for themselves. Result: Total satisfaction, German-American relationships strong as ever before, and the Americans make a triumphant return to the center of a unified German capital. And all that on a Fourth of July.
The smell of history kept lingering in the air today. Germans, Americans and visitors from all over the world could still notice it, while taking a bite from their free beef jerky. Right behind them the travel offices of West Virginia, the Deep South and the Capital Region had set up shop; looking at the prices these days, most passersby figured that the Baltic Sea isn’t so bad after all.
Real authentic American Sports were on display: Football, Cheerleading, Break dance, and the king of it all – Segway riding. Politics was present too, Republicans and Democrats Abroad shared a tent (hooray for bi-partisanship), clearly demonstrating who has the German public’s sympathies. While the Democrats had to fill balloon after balloon for German Obamamaniacs, the Republican side looked deserted and somewhat pitiful (yet those present at the booth were of high hopes, check back for a full interview with a Republican and a Democratic Berliner).
Leaving the transatlantic Volksfest we look back at a US-themed, Bratwurst flavored family party. The attendees presented their version of the US, with the holy trinity of Indians, Fast Food and SUVs.
I'll agree with this person's impression of the festivities. There was even an Elvis Impersonator singing at one point.
I've attached my personal photos from this event - and will note that the tent I worked in gave out over 4000 inflated "Obama" balloons and sold out on Obama pins and bumper stickers. The actual Amerika fest itself started at 10 AM, and continued on Saturday until 22:00 PM. From the moment the gates opened, the outside of the tent was crowded with people cheering and clamoring for balloons and other Obama merchandise. It was an amazing experience.
(Note that in one picture, you can see the Democratic side of the tent, and the other the Republican side.)
Update: I read that at the Kennedy Museum, which was the center for registering people to vote, they registered 70 people, and a few hundred (still waiting on confirmation from the states themselves) to vote from abroad. Most were registering in hopes of voting for Obama. According to the attendee blog, on Obama's site, one of those voting absentee reported this was the first election he would vote in for 20 years.
For More pictures of the event, please check out my flickr pages here.