Walking in a Wyvern Wonderland

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Zachary Jakel
  • 31st Fighter Wing

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy – The 31st Fighter Wing Community Center hosted Wyvern Wonderland once again in the Wyvern Square at Aviano Air Base, Italy, Nov. 30, 2023. The event gave everyone in the Wyvern Nation a chance to spend a magic-filled night with their family away from family.

With Christmas swiftly approaching, the 31st FW ushered in the season’s greetings with a tree lighting and performance by the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Band.

“Wyvern Wonderland was created to support the tree lighting,” said Rugeana Moreno, Community Center director. “The entire event bridges the distance and isolation felt within our overseas community, aiming to uplift spirits, foster unity and infuse the holiday season with a sense of joy and togetherness for everyone. It provides a vital opportunity for families to bond, support one another, and find a sense of home away from home in our shared experiences and camaraderie.”

Even though Aviano AB has yet to reach consistent freezing temperatures this winter, the Community Center managed to create an environment that brought the North Pole here, including a pony and carriage ride, Santa’s village, hot chocolate, cookies and a Christmas market. It seemed everyone had a very merry night.

“The sheer joy reflected in people's smiles as they attend these events motivates me to continue to help create Wyvern Wonderland,” said Moreno. “Or the spark of excitement shining in the children's eyes as they witness the setup and lights. It's more than just gatherings, it's about creating cherished moments that illuminate our spirits and connect us as a community.”

With Aviano AB being an overseas location, many of the families here don’t have the opportunity to fly back home to visit their loved ones over the holidays. Wyvern Wonderland is one of the many ways the Community Center helps connect other families together in hopes that friendships are kindled.

“Seeing Santa come out with the fire department and seeing the smiles he put on my kids’ faces was definitely my favorite part,” said Elizabeth Boone, Wyvern Wonderland participant.

The event concluded with U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Tad Clark, 31st FW commander, leading Wyvern nation in a countdown to light the tree followed by Mariah Carey’s "All I Want for Christmas is You."