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A few "mobsters" and gentlemen competed in the 2012 hangar dance costume contest. Behind them is the Generation II Big Band, which will play again for this year's dance. (Photo courtesy of the Goodhue County Historical Society)

Dance II coming to airport

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By Ruth Nerhaugen

The second annual World War II Era Hangar Dance, sponsored by the Goodhue County Historical Society, is planned for Sept. 14 at the Red Wing Regional Airport.

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Generation II Big Band again will provide "the music that rallied the troops and lifted the spirits of those on the homefront" for dancing and listening, Chairman Dawn Bennett said.

The event will kick off with free dance lessons from 5:45 to 6:15 p.m., taught by Kik and Steve Gheen. Following a salute to men and women of the military, Generation II Big Band will play from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Emcee for the evening is Paul Drotos.

The first hangar dance, a fundraiser for the historical society, attracted a crowd of more than 200 last fall, Bennett said.

A costume contest was among the night's most popular activities. It will again be held during the band's first intermission.

Last year, "More than 50 people dressed in costumes that were reminiscent of the WWII era, including several people in authentic uniforms," Bennett said.

"Even those who were not in costume enjoyed the costume parade and had fun posing for pictures with the people who dressed up — including Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty."

This year, a photo corner will be set up in the hangar for people who want to recreate the look of a vintage photograph. A photographer will be available to assist in taking pictures using guests' cellphones and, for a donation, people will be able to don accessories that capture the look of the 1940s. Hats, gloves, fur stoles and other pieces will be available.

People attending the dance also will be able to pose with a WWII T-6 Trainer aircraft, which will be flown to Red Wing for the event by owner Barry Hammerbeck of Wisconsin. Donations will go toward the cost of gas to fly here.

Anyone who comes dressed "to the nines" will be invited to enter the costume contest, Bennett said. A panel of judges will select prize-winners in several categories, including authentic military uniforms, hair-dos and accessories, and men's and women's outfits.

Several other popular features from the inaugural dance will be repeated. A cold chicken box dinner will be included with dance admission for those who ordered one; beer, wine and soda will be available at the cash bar. Hot dogs, USO style doughnuts and coffee will be sold later in the evening.

The canteen again will offer a selection of vintage style treats, including candy cigarettes, chocolate bars and Cracker Jacks.

The silent auction will be back, featuring a variety of items donated by local supporters and businesses. Auction chairman Beth Anderson said there will be sailboat and airplane rides, patriotic memorabilia, vintage books, event tickets, art work and more.

Tickets are $30. They will be available in advance or at the door of the hangar; Red Wing Regional Airport is on Highway 35 in Bay City.

People at the dance — anyone who cannot attend but wants to support the historical society — will have an opportunity to purchase Museum Bonds at $25 per stamp. Proceeds will go toward a new telephone system.

Tickets are on sale at the Goodhue County History Center, Uffda Shop and Body Kneads, 316 Bush St., or from Historical Society board members and dance committee members. For more information call the History Center at 651-388-6024, or check out details on Facebook.

If you go ...

What:Second annual WWII era Hangar Dance

Who: Goodhue County Historical Society

When: 5:30-10:30 p.m. Sept. 14

Where: Red Wing Regional Airport, Bay City

How much: $30

More info: 651-388-6024

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