Local history will come to life Saturday, April 28 as you step back in time during Courtland Remembers: The 1940s, an event being held at Courtland’s historic downtown square.
Cars of the era will line the streets as visitors enjoy a military display of World War II. They will see a Warbird in flight and hear first-hand accounts from veterans of all eras. Goodies from the 40s will also be available for purchase. The event will culminate with a live United Service Organization (USO) show and swing dance.
The opening ceremony, prayer, recognition of veterans, and a salute to each branch of service will take place at 3 p.m. Veterans are asked to pre-register for the event online at the event website: www.wingsovercourtland.com and to submit a photograph. All pre-registered veterans will receive a free ticket to the evening activities. All veterans of service will be honored with a special focus on WWII servicemen. A flyover of warbirds is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
Visitors may enjoy a live radio show, period vendors, and 1940s decorated pop-up shops representing previous merchants of the era through a photo exhibition. Visit Veterans’ Row to talk to local service heroes, get their autographs and hear their stories. At this time, the canteen will reopen serving up Cokes in a bottle, Cracker Jacks and Sugar Babies along with other delicious candies from the past.
The fashion show will take place at 4 p.m., displaying examples of fabrics, materials, patterns, and sewing techniques of this era. Students from Sparkman High School as well as some local celebrities will participate in this event.
The evening activities begin at 5 p.m. with a Southern Sunday dinner of the era and USO show. This is a ticketed event. The $15 tickets are available at Warbird Diner and through its website. The Sparkman High School Drama Department will present the show complete with a Bob Hope impersonator and the Andrew Sisters. The evening may include some storytelling from local people about times when the Courtland Army Air Base was active.
The movie in the park will begin at 7 p.m. “Aerial Gunner,” a story about officers in pilot training, is the chosen feature film. The canteen will open serving period style refreshments. The evening finale will begin at 9 p.m. with dancing to a big band while swing dancing Under the Stars. The Sophisticated Swingers will provide the evening’s music.
There will be special exhibits for children and a scavenger hunt.
“This is a community spirit building project for a sleepy town that has lost its main industry,” said Lisa Pace, owner of Warbird Diner, a sponsor of the event. “The first phase is to honor its nearby veterans. We plan to record the stories told during the meet and greet time to gather information, using the Sparkman High School History and Journalism programs.”
These stories will be recorded for the Alabama 200 project.
Pace said the event has received a lot of positive response near and far, particularly from veterans, and she hopes it becomes an annual event.
“The response has been tremendous,” she said. “We hope to make this an annual event and grow it by adding a military contingent.”
The downtown square will be blocked off for the event. Parking will be available at most adjacent parking lots, Pace said.
For more information about the event, contact Pace at (256) 366-6796 or visit the event’s website at www.wingsovercourtland.com.