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BATTLE OF THE BULGE 75th ANNIVERSARY




DECEMBER 2019

From Friday 13th until Sunday 15th December

NUTS WEEKEND

COMMEMORATION OF THE SIEGE OF BASTOGNE (Saturday 14th)


Organised by the Town of Bastogne, the commemoration is a patriotic procession that brings together veterans, brotherhoods, dignitaries, students, Belgian and American military platoons and veterans and includes the laying of two wreaths (at the PATTON and McAULIFFE monuments). The 'Jet de Noix' (throwing of the nuts) from the balcony of the Town Hall brings the commemoration to a close.

This Bastogne tradition has two origins.

The first goes back more than 150 years when each farm had servants, cowherds, shepherds, etc. These people were contracted verbally for a year. These verbal contracts had the same weight as the written and registered contracts we use today. Servants were, however, fired for minor errors. Labour was abundant at the time. The person, although fired, nonetheless completed his/her year. Eight days before the end of the year, they collected their wages and left with her bindles on their shoulders. They then arrived at the Bastogne fair in this gear. This last fair of the year therefore became a fair at which servants and domestic workers were hired. It was here that the farmers gathered to hire their staff for the next year. When they were re-hired (and so had their wages guaranteed for the next year) they tied a red handkerchief with white dots around their necks over a large blue smock. It was a sign that they had been hired. Given that the next year was sorted financially, workhands took advantage of the opportunity to enjoy themselves. The young men bought the girls cone-shaped sugar loaves (the only confectionery available at the time) and fruit or nuts. As these sugar loaves were very expensive, they preferred to offer fruit or nuts, which consisted mainly of walnuts at the time, to their promised.

The second, better known, although later origin, is linked to an important moment in history. In December 1944, General MCAULIFFE, Commander of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division, was defending the besieged town during the Battle of the Bulge. He famously replied ‘Nuts’ to the Germans when petitioned by them to surrender on 22nd December 1944. Chance had it that General MCAULIFFE's exclamation of Nuts fell just at the time when, traditionally, Bastogne was celebrating the Walnut Fair before the war. After the war, folklore and military history came together in this celebration.

So, every year in December, during the commemorations of the siege of the town, the Mayor, accompanied by Belgian and foreign dignitaries, throw nuts to the public from the balcony of the Town Hall.

> Free admission.

INFORMATION | MUNICIPALITY OF BASTOGNE - +32(0)61240930 manifestations@bastogne.be

WAR BOOK FAIR

PERIMETER WALK (Saturday 14th)

Historical walk punctuated with static reconstructions set up by collectors. Three different walking distances starting from the Sports Centre

> €6.

INFORMATION | MUNICIPALITY OF BASTOGNE - +32(0)61240930 manifestations@bastogne.be

This book fair, organised by the Town of Bastogne in collaboration with Croisy bookshop, will take place in the glass-covered hall of INDSé 2nd and 3rd grades (Séminaire), and will offer a wide selection of books dealing with the 1940- 45 war, plus a selection for kids. Signing sessions will also be organised.

> Free admission.

INFORMATION | MUNICIPALITY OF BASTOGNE - +32(0)61240930

manifestations@bastogne.be


SHOW AT THE MARDASSON

Spectacular sound and light show projected onto the Mardasson Monument. Organised by the Bastogne Memorial asbl (not-for-profit association). Five shows over the weekend.

> Free admission.

INFORMATION | BASTOGNE MEMORIAL ASBL

(NOT-FOR-PROFIT) - +32(0)61550060


WHI BASTOGNE BARRACKS

A place of great importance during the Battle of the Bulge, Bastogne Barracks, the site of the War Heritage Institute (WHI), brings you right back to December 1944. Lively exhibitions, a parade of vintage military vehicles, vehicle restorations... an unforgettable experience! A sound and light show will complete the weekend programme.

> Free admission.

INFORMATION | WHI BASTOGNE BARRACKS ASBL (NOT-FOR-PROFIT) +32(0)61242124 - bb.whi@skynet.be


NUTS DAYS AT THE BASTOGNE WAR MUSEUM

Over the weekend, the museum will host a book sale/exchange for war books and historical documents as well as displaying static WWII reconstructions around the building. On Sunday, the public will be able to meet several veterans.

> Free admission.

INFORMATION | BASTOGNE WAR MUSEUM - +32(0)61210220 info@bastognewarmuseum.be


MILITARY VEHICLE PARADE (Sunday 15th)

Roughly a hundred military vehicles of the time and today will parade in the Grand'rue (main street). An event organised by the city in collaboration with the WHI. A static exhibition of these same vehicles will also be on display in the Quartier Latin.

> Free admission.

INFORMATION | MUNICIPALITY OF BASTOGNE - +32(0)61240930

manifestations@bastogne.be


PYROTECHNIC DISPLAY IN HARDIGNY

15th December

Throughout the weekend, the village of Hardigny will readopt the look of the 1940s with an historic, marked trail that will allow visitors to discover and experience the living conditions in the countryside as they were during the winter of 1944-45. A pyrotechnic display will be held on Sunday, 15th December. The village was chosen for its aesthetic appeal and historical value. The show consists of a 'lively' retrospective of this sad moment in history, namely the Battle of the Bulge, interpreted by actors: US and German military personnel as well as civilians. In order to better immerse the spectator, the extras will be in uniforms or even in vintage vehicles.

> Entry is not free.

INFORMATION | ARDENNES MEMORIES ASBL (NOT-FOR-PROFIT)

info@ardennesmemories.com


CHRISTMAS MARKET

There will be more than fifty stalls, a toboggan run, a carousel and Santa's house for children!

Throughout the weekend, the following entertainment will be offered to visitors:

- Friday: 1940s marching band and jazz battle

- Saturday: 1940s singer and 'guinguette' (café/bar)

- Sunday: projection of old photos, music of the 1940s and fireworks display.

> Free admission.

INFORMATION | BASTOGNE TOURIST OFFICE - +32(0)61212711 info@bastogne-tourisme.be

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D-DAY MEMORY TOUR

Toll-free: 1 844 606 1944
Fax: 844 549 1643
E-mail: info@ddmtusa.com

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