Sunday, June 14, 2015

1940's Era Ball (Party like it's 1945)

The 1940's Era Ball is becoming a classic Colorado annual event, and rightly so. The summer ball first sprung to life in 2008, founded by Khyentse James. Per the website:

"The birth of this ball began in the 1940s, when founder Khyentse James’ grandparents met at a Pennsylvania radio station (WCDL Carbondale). Her grandmother was a singer and her grandfather became an announcer upon his return from World War II duty. Years later, their love story inspired Khyentse’s passionate interest in the culture and music of the 1940s that brought her grandparents together. It was when Khyentse was working at the Boulder Airport and earning her pilot’s license that she got the idea to hold an event in the large hangar to celebrate that culture"

Along with the summer ball, there is also a White Christmas themed ball in December; we have now been to 4 balls in total, and they continue to get bigger and better with each year. My wife and I feel like we have a close connection to this time in history, perhaps we were born in the wrong era!. 

Myself and my wife in RAF and WAC Authentic WW2 Uniforms

Paul and Trudee

My grandfather was an Officer in the Royal Artillery, 15 Medium Regiment, and saw action several times. He and his Regiment landed on Juno Beach on July 8th 1944, a month after the D-Day landings. His Regiment pushed onto Caen where they saw very heavy fighting, eventually they headed East along the coast liberating towns as they went, including Dieppe and Boulogne. I also had a great uncle that was captured at Dunkirk and spent the rest of the war in a concentration camp.

Both my wife and I love the music of the 40's (Glenn Miller, Ella Fitzgerald, Dame Vera Lynn....),  although at best our dance skills are bordering on the edge of basic and very basic. I think, breaking out the old 33's and the record player will be in order prior to our next ball!. 

We travel back to England at least twice a year, and inevitably find some kind of 40's event to go to go back there too. England really embraces that era still, and there are events year round, up and down the country. Having a similar event on our doorsteps here in Colorado, is a huge bonus though!.

Airport hanger is turned into a themed cafe

Main stage with the backdrop of the Rockies

Each year the Summer ball gets bigger and better, with more authentic ww2 military vehicles, planes, and re-enactors. It is like a museum wandering around the event field, and gives you a good sense of how it was back in that era.

What is so great about these period type events, whether they be in the USA, UK or elsewhere, is admiring the amazing uniforms and period clothing. You could literally spend all day/evening just people watching.

The entertainment at the 1940's era Ball is top-notch, and usually includes well known local big band The Hot Tomatoes. The Hot Tomatoes perform all the classics from Glenn Miller to Benny Goodman to Duke Ellington. 2015 lineup also included wonderful impersonators, including Carmen Miranda, Bob Hope, Charlie Chaplin and Frank Sinatra.

Carmen Miranda

Charlie Chaplin, Roy Rogers, Jane Russell, Bob Hope

Bob Hope

The evening was topped off with a spectacular sunset and dancing, another great 1940's Ball at the Boulder Airport!.

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