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VetsRoll plans hangar dance in Beloit

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Gazette staff
April 16, 2014

The World War II uniforms, long, flowing dresses and swing music of the 1940s and '50s will be back in style in Beloit next weekend.

VetsRoll, an organization that takes veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit their memorials, is sponsoring its annual hangar dance from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 26, at Beloit's Eclipse Center.

The dance—VetsRoll's fourth—features three jazz bands playing tunes many WWII veterans will recognize, such as “In the Mood,” “Take the 'A' Train” and “I'm Getting Sentimental Over You.”

Mark Finnegan, co-founder of VetsRoll, said the dance recalls the social events offered on military bases during the war.

“It replicates the fun that generation had to kind of relieve the stress of the war years,” said Finnegan, co-owner of Finnegans' RV Center in South Beloit, Ill.

The music lineup is:

—1:30-4:30 p.m.: Jack Farina Big Band.

—4:45 p.m.: Beloit Memorial High School Jazz Band.

—6:30-9 p.m.: Ladies Must Swing, an 18-piece all-female big band.

Proceeds from the hangar dance, silent auction and raffles help support VetsRoll's bus trips to Washington, D.C. The organization will make its fifth trip May 18-21, with more 200 veterans and “Rosie the Riveters” riding on 10 buses.

The dances usually attract about 500 people, and more than half of them wear period clothing, Finnegan said. The best costumes win prizes.

“It makes it that much more fun,” he said.



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