LARGO — For one night, you can step back into the 1940s and experience the enthusiasm that gripped participants in high-energy, wartime USO shows.
Friday night the Armed Forces History Museum in Largo will host the Stars and Stripes USA Spirit of America Show. One word of advice before stepping in the door: Get ready to boogie-woogie.
Formerly called the Stars and Stripes USO Show, this new show is an inaugural event at the Armed Forces History Museum and will feature a red carpet welcome, show hosts, vintage attire, re-enactors, even paparazzi. The Stars and Stripes USA Spirit of America Show will transform the environment of the military museum into a night of swing reminiscent of when big bands were king.
"It's our first time producing such a large-scale event which will encompass so much music and dancing," said Cindy Bosselmann, director of marketing and promotional events at the museum. "The museum will be clearing out all of its vehicles to allow for room for potentially 400 to 600 guests to dance and enjoy the show."
While swing dancing may be the draw for many people, not knowing how to dance shouldn't keep anyone away. Swing dance lessons are a part of the evening.
Feet will tap and hips will sway to the sounds of the 19-piece 10 O'Clock Swing Band Orchestra featuring lead singer Ron Pond. Two vocal impersonators also will croon into the night: Don Juceam as Frank Sinatra and Sir Darrell Cole as Nat King Cole.
Plus, there will be three bars — two full bars for those who want to taste spirits and are of legal drinking age, and one bar strictly for water and soda. Drink tickets for all three will be available for purchase.
All 80 VIP tickets for a buffet dinner to be held in the Officer's Club prior to the start of the show sold out quickly, but tickets for just the show are still available at $23 each.
Although the event harks back to the '40s, it actually supports the future. Profits from this fundraiser will go to the Armed Forces History Museum's community outreach and youth educational programs.