Re-enactors stage weekend event
HOLLIDAYSBURG -World War II re-enactors will gather Saturday and Sunday at Canal Basin Park with a schedule of events that will take the public on a nostalgic journey back to the 1940s.
All proceeds of the event will benefit the families of local Pennsylvania Army National Guard troops who are being deployed to Iraq later this month.
That includes troops of the 2-112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade with Armories in Altoona, Bellefonte, Everett, Huntingdon, Lewistown and Tyrone.
The weekend event, themed "Reflections of Yesterday,'' will feature unique acts reminiscent of the World War II years.
Appearing in the amphitheater and topping the entertainment list are an Abbott and Costello team, which recreates the original act of the most popular comedic duo of the era; The Andrew Sisters trio, a perfectly pitched group of doubles emulating the original sisters; Big Band Sound from Mount Union, which will play favorites of the '40s; the 28th Infantry Division Band, which will rock the house; Harmony Safari, a local quartet, which will perform; and Dancenergy, which will present swing dancing.
Anyone wanting to participate in a "Rosie The Riveter'' look-alike contest on Saturday will be welcomed on stage adding to the event's nostalgic aura.
A special USO show will also be held Sunday, and Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr. will speak on today's issues at 4 p.m. Sunday.
The public is encouraged to bring their chairs and blankets to enjoy the entertainment.
On both days, there will be World War II re-enactors, displays and military vehicles, Tim Klock's chain saw wood carvings, an antique flea market and car show, silent auctions, a petting zoo, food booths and charcoal drawing artist.
Activities, games and prizes for children will be available both days.
Information for military families will be available all weekend as well, with members on site from the Vietnam Veterans of America, Fire Base Eagle, the Tyrone Area Korean War Veterans and the American Red Cross.
Baltimore Life Cos. will sponsor the Safety Smart Child Child ID program. A Sunday train ride with the troops will be a big draw, according to the weekend's originator, Thomas A. Gray.
Gray and his wife, Sue, initiated the idea of the show and brought it to fruition through his affiliation with the Greater Pennsylvania Military Preservation Association.
The GPMPA's mission is to educate the public on military history.
The group produces and presents traveling displays depicting the people, events, equipment and essence of the World War II era by re-enactment.
They also display Korean War and Vietnam War items and events as well.
"The ultimate goal of the group is to open a local museum,'' Gray said.
Gray has a full-time assignment as recruiter's assistant with the Pennsylvania National Guard.
Admission to the event and entertainment is free. There will be a nominal charge to ride the troop train, and donations will be accepted for those who want to give.
Information, schedules for entertainment and an itinerary for both days can be found at www.reflectionsofyesterday.webs.com or by calling 944-5311.