By Ron Bernthal

The 2006 FIFA World Cup games will kick-off in Munich, June 1, and end in Berlin on July 9, in what will be one of the most exciting and well-run world cup tournaments. The venues are ready, the teams have been selected, and fans are purchasing game tickets and making plans to spend several days, at least, soaking up World Cup atmosphere under the German sun. And, for the first time in World Cup history, there will be an official FAN FEST in each of the 12 host cities. Ron Bernthal offers some tantalizing details.

The World Cup 2006 trophy will be presented to the winning team after the final match In Berlin, July 9, 2006.

From Hamburg in the north to Munich in the south, each city has designed its own FAN FEST program, and city organizers expect thousands of football fans from all over the world to attend these organized events, which will take place in the days preceding, during, and following the group games in each city

The official 2006 World Cup mascot is Goleo VI, and the lion's image will be seen on billboards, souvenirs, t-shirts, and on buildings throughout Germany.

In most of the cities, fans will be able to watch the game action live on giant TV screens set up at the FAN FEST events. Berlin will hold one of the biggest FAN events on June 17th, with a 1.5 mile party stretching from the Brandenburg Gate to the Victory Column. Bryan Adams will perform for fans in Gelsenkirchen on July 7, and the group Simple Minds (June 8) and Status Quo (June 28) will precede him. Other cities will also have big-name entertainment.

There will certainly be plenty to eat at these FAN FEST venues. After all, this is Germany, where food is as important as football in most homes. At the Hamburg Fan Park there will be a Beach Club with an assortment of international cuisine, along with a replica of the famous, former fish-market on the banks of the River Elbe . In the northern city of Hanover, visitors will be treated to a Gourmet Festival, where food vendors from the countries represented at the FIFA World Cup will sell traditional food items from their regions. And at each FAN FEST location local and regional beers will be widely available, as well as the brews from AnheuserBusch, one of the World Cup sponsors.

Franz Beckenbauer, the former German footballer, is President of the German 2006 Organizing Committee.

The following locations in each city will be the site of the FAN FEST
Berlin: Brandenburg Gate/Strasse des 17. Juni
Dortmund: Friedensplatz and Westfalenhallen
Frankfurt: ‘Underwater football stadium’ between the Eiserner Steg and Ignatz-Bubis bridges
Gelsenkirchen: Gluckauf-Kampfbahn stadium
Hamburg: Heiligengeistfeld
Hanover: Waterloo Square
Kaiserslautern: Stiftsplatz and Barbarossastrasse Square
Cologne: Heumarkt and Roncalliplatz
Leipzig: Augustusplatz
Munich: Olympiapark

For information on purchasing tickets, hotel accommodations, and for a com

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