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Music and machines: Hangar dance and fly-in

October 01, 2009|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE

Hagerstown has had a long affair with aircraft.

This weekend, two events will celebrate Hagerstown's booming World War II aviation years, the toe-topping music and the excitement of seeing those majestic mechanical beasts.

The third annual Big Band Hangar Dance will be from 7:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, at Hagerstown Regional Airport Terminal. Admission costs $22 per person or $39 per couple in advance; or $25 each at the door.

The 11th annual Hagerstown Aircraft Services and the Hagerstown EAA Chapter 36 Fly-in and Drive-in will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, and Sunday, Oct. 4, at Hagerstown Aircraft Services at Hagerstown Regional Airport. The airplane and car show is free and will be held rain or shine.

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Kurtis Meyers, president of the Hagerstown Aviation Museum, said during World War II, hangar dances were used to boost morale of those in the Armed Forces.

"They would usually rent or use one of the hangers," he said. "And they would pull in a flatbed truck to put the orchestra up on and have a dance."

Meyers said hangar dances or similar dances were often hosted by the USO and staged at the YMCA or Camp Ritchie.

The theme of this year's dance is "Life on the Homefront." People are encouraged, not required, to dress in 1940s wear.

Meyers said during World War II, everyone pitched in with the war effort.

"People came off the farm to work in the factories," he said. "They'd work in the factories during the day and farm at night. Anything to win the war."

The Saturday event begins at 6:30 p.m. with a patriotic fly-over of 1940s airplanes. At 7 p.m., Pam and Steve Springer will hold a swing dance demonstration. The "Life on the Homefront" dance kicks off at 7:30 p.m.

Last year's dance drew about 300.

The dance is held in conjunction with the Hagerstown Fly-In.

"I see airplanes every day. It shouldn't excite me, but it does," said Tracey Potter, president and owner of Hagerstown Aircraft Services.

He said it's the planes themselves that attract people to the event.

"One of the biggest reasons fly-ins are pretty neat is because they bring a lot of different airplanes to one spot," he said. "For pilots, it's a nice fellowship event. They can get together and talk about the plane they built or rebuilt."

The Hagerstown Aircraft Museum, of which Potter is vice president, will display several aircraft built in Hagerstown at Fairchild Aircraft, including a Fairchild C-82, C-119, PT-19 and PT-26. There will also be home-built planes, warbirds and modern aircraft on display.

Free flights will be offered to children ages 7 to 17 through the EAA Young Eagles program. Potter said typically during the fly-in weekend, 150 to 200 children have been able to fly.

Potter said the fly-in weekend financially helps the organizations involved. But it's important to come out and learn about local aviation history.

"Nothing is more fascinating than an airplane," Potter said. "I'm a little biased, because that's what I do."

If you go ...



What: Third annual Big Band Hangar Dance

When: 7:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3

Where: Hagerstown Regional Airport Terminal along Showalter Road, north of Hagerstown

Cost: Cost in advance is $22 for singles or $39 per couple; or $25 per person at the door

CONTACT: Go to www.hagerstownaviationmuseum.org

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What: 11th annual Hagerstown Aircraft Services and the Hagerstown EAA Chapter 36 Fly-In and Drive-in

When: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, and Sunday, Oct. 4

Where: Hagerstown Aircraft Services at Hagerstown Regional Airport

Cost: Free

CONTACT: Go to www.hagerstownaviationmuseum.org

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