Annual swing dance returns to WWII History Festival
On Saturday, Apr. 24, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Dixie Wing will host “Keep ‘em Flying,” a 1940s-theme hangar dance, complete with big-band performances, swing dance demonstrations, period costumes and vintage aircraft.
The festivities will be held at the Historical Airpower Facility, Atlanta Regional Airport Falcon Field in Peachtree City and will begin at 6 p.m. with free swing dance lessons by Rachel Ferguson Dance Connection.
“Keep ‘em Flying” guests will hear the Peachtree Jazz Edition play swing standards made famous by Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman. Described as “one of the best bands in Atlanta,” the Peachtree Jazz Edition is returning to “Keep ‘em Flying” for the eighth straight year.
Also performing will be the Vintage Vocals, a Cobb County trio that wears military-style costumes while performing '40's classics by the Andrews Sisters and other big band stars.
Spine-bending dance demonstrations will provided by Down South Swing and student's from Ferguson's studio.
“Keep ‘em Flying” is one of several highlights scheduled during “WWII Heritage Days,” a public history program created to honor The Greatest Generation, the men and women who won the Second World War.
The weekend combines vintage military aircraft and vehicles, educational exhibits, demonstrations and guest speakers to teach WWII history. The program will begin Saturday at 10 a.m. with an opening ceremony recognizing local WWII veterans.
Proceeds from the dance are used to cover costs associated with hosting “WWII Heritage Days,” the ongoing preservation of vintage aircraft and “Education Through Living History,” a program made available by CAF Dixie Wing volunteers to schools and youth groups free of charge.
The 2005 edition of the annual swing dance was instrumental in the repair of “The Lady in Blue,” a rare SBD Dauntless dive-bomber flown by the CAF Dixie Wing.
“Our SBD was grounded because we needed a new engine,” said Jim Buckley, leader of the CAF Dixie Wing “so we decided to rename the dance to reflect our mission, which is to restore and fly World War II airplanes as a tribute to America’s veterans.”
The CAF Dixie Wing is a non-profit educational organization that relies on donations and fundraisers to preserve WWII aircraft and teach WWII history.
Advance tickets to “Keep ‘em Flying” are $35 per person; $50 after Apr. 19. Reserved tables for eight $300. Group discounts available. For tickets, call 678-654-2464 or visit www.wwiidays.net. The dance will be held rain or shine. No refunds please.
The Commemorative Air Force is a non-profit organization dedicated to flying and restoring World War II aircraft. Based in Midland, Texas, the organization has over 9,500 members and operates a fleet of over 150 World War II aircraft. www.commemorativeairforce.org