The Kings Historical Society and CentreStage Theatre are teaming up to present an evening to remember, A Soldier’s Social, at the historic Cornwallis Inn ballroom on Oct. 27.
Kings Historical Society office manager and organizer Kate MacInnes-Adams said they ask those attending the event to enter through the downstairs door of the Cornwallis Inn. They’ll feel as through they’ve taken a step back in time as a Scottish piper and an actor playing B.W. Roscoe, Kentville’s mayor from 1936 to 1945, will greet them.
The bellboy will take visitors on the elevator to the main lobby and ballroom area, where MacInnes-Adams said they’ll be “transported to 1944.” There will be a coat-check girl, war posters, letters from soldiers to their sweethearts, photos, postcards of the Cornwallis Inn, newspaper clippings and other ephemera. The tables will be decorated with Canadian flags of the day.
“That’s the exciting part of it, it really is a travel back in time,” she said. “All the food is from the 1940’s. We’ve gone through wartime recipes and chosen things so all of the tables have a spread of food on them that would have been available at wartime.”
The band, Rewind, will be playing songs from the Second World War era. Costumed dancers from Dancetime of Port Williams will be performing, encouraging other patrons to dance. The Dearlies will be playing the Andrews Sisters, presenting four of the sisters’ classic songs. There will also be a fiddler.
Actors from CentreStage will be presenting vignettes with wartime themes. MacInnes-Adams said the show would begin with a memorial to Vimy Ridge, recognizing the centennial of the infamous First World War battle.
“It’s not only a chance to kick up your heels, it’s a time to remember too. We also have some poignant moments,” MacInnes-Adams said.
There will be a cash bar serving refreshments and “cigarette” girls will be strolling the ballroom. Don’t be expecting to light up, though: they’ll have candy cigarettes for sale, not tobacco, and the girls will be selling 50-50 tickets and bar tickets. There will be ashtrays on the tables though. After all, this is how it was in the 1940’s.
There will be an actress playing the iconic Second World War poster girl Rosie the Riveter, famous for her “We Can Do It!” call to action.
MacInnes-Adams said the historical society began working with CentreStage four years ago on a Remembrance Day event, which were held at the Kings County Museum for a couple of years. These included vignettes, music and a sing-along.
“We really noticed how much people were engaged by that and really enjoyed singing the old songs. That led us into a conversation of why couldn’t the audience be part of it,” she said.
This was the genesis of holding a dance and reconnecting with Kentville history in regard to soldier’s socials once held at the Cornwallis Inn for those serving at Camp Aldershot. It takes approximately 75 volunteers to pull the social off.
The event is a major fundraiser for the Kings Historical Society and CentreStage Theatre, both not-for-profit entities. MacInnes-Adams said the evening would definitely put the “fun” in fundraiser.
The social gets underway at 8 p.m. on Oct. 27. The Cornwallis Inn is located at 325 Main St., Kentville. Tickets cost $30 or $25 for society members and are available at the Kings County Museum, located at 37 Cornwallis St., Kentville. For more information, call 902-678-6237 or visit www.kingscountymuseum.ca.
The event is sponsored by the owners of the Cornwallis Inn, HarbourEdge; property managers SafeGuard, the Half Acre Café, Kings Arms Pub and Wild Lupin Media.