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Fun For All: Big Band Hangar Dance

The Tulsa squadron of the Commemorative Air Force plays host to their annual ‘Celebrate Freedom,’ – Big Band Hangar Dance and Aircraft Display.

By: Julie Dermody | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: October 2006

Michelle Wigington from Glenpool, Joyce Dermody from Oologah, and Claudetta Bruner from Owasso.

This Veterans Day November 11, 2006, the clock will turn back the sands of time for a celebration of years gone by.

The Tulsa squadron of the Commemorative Air Force will play host for its annual ‘Celebrate Freedom’ – Big Band Hangar Dance and Aircraft Display weekend at the state-of-the art Tulsa Technology Center (TTC), 801 E. 91st St., Jones-Riverside Airport in Jenks. Excitement will charge the air from the first moment the vintage planes arrive in the Tulsa airspace. Thunderous applause will permeate the sky when spectators catch the first glimpse of vintage WWI and WWII planes whose powerful engines vibrate the ground as they approach. Paratroopers will jump and their billowing chutes open as they float towards earth. This is where adrenaline junkies get their highs.

A variety of vintage and replica military aircraft will be on display and in the air. According to Britannica, from January 1, 1940, to August 14, 1945, the United States produced 300,317 military aircraft. During the air show, many of these vintage craft will be soaring through the skies over the Jones Riverside Airport.

The day will be filled with activities from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Two WWI airplanes that were used for the much-acclaimed movie ‘The Aviator’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio will take flight into the morning sky at 10 a.m. One is an exact copy made from the original plans and the other is slightly modified. “Also in attendance will be one of the most famous P-51 Mustangs, Miss America,” said Jim Gentry, member of the Commemorative Air Force. “This beautiful airplane will be on display and fly during the event.”

The “Celebrate Freedom” Hangar Dance, one of the largest of its kind in the United States, annually attracts swing dancers from throughout the central states thanks to a great combination of quality big band music and the nostalgic ambience of a past era. According to Rita Robbins of the OK Swing Group, 85 swing dancers attended last year and more are expected this year.

This year dancers will be giving swing dance lessons as part of the daytime activities, accompanied by the swing combo ‘JazzEE Band’, and everyone is encouraged to learn a few steps. Dancers without partners will be offered stickers to wear indicating that they would love to get out on the floor, so don’t be shy! Everyone is encouraged to step back in time and dress in uniform or in 1940’s attire.

The dance event will officially begin at 5:30 p.m. with a silent auction, PX, and food sales. An entertaining pre-show will begin at 6 p.m. with performances by singer and local JrROTC groups.

The 18-piece big band ‘Sounds of Music’ will delight swinger dancers and spectators alike with the wonderful music of the era from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Lori Cole, who has a voice like one from yesteryear, will serenade those in attendance transporting them back in time. Concessions will be available inside the hangar.

The silent auction will offer small and large ticket items, so make your bids early and be sure to keep watch as the end gets close, someone just might try to appropriate your desired item of choice. Tickets for the daytime aircraft display are $4 for adults, $2 for children 6-12. The Big Band Hangar Dance tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Proceeds from this event go directly into restoration of the Squadron’s Fairchild PT-19 trainer and fund the Cadet program.

Tickets are available at Carson Attractions, McGuire Music Repair, The Music Store, Roy and Candy’s Music, Tulsa Air and Space Museum, Roadhouse Aviation (Jones-Riverside Airport), at the daytime events, or at the dance in the evening.

For more information, contact

Spirit of Tulsa Squadron

(918) 794-4182

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Commemorative Air Force Spirit of Tulsa Squadron

For more information, contact:

Commemorative Air Force Spirit of Tulsa Squadron

(918) 794-4182

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