Dance back in time at Omaka
It’s a night out in the 1940s, the boys are home from Europe and it’s time to party.
Bring your sweetheart or find yourself a new one, when The Garrison Society proudly presents Blenheim’s first Victory Dance at the Clubs of Marlborough on Sunday June 3 – Queen’s Birthday Weekend.
Get dressed up to the nines or come as you are to enjoy music and entertainment by The Beatgirls from Wellington.
Their special blend of 1940s music and performance is sure to keep everyone moving from 7pm until midnight.
The Beatgirls are an internationally renowned group and have performed at two consecutive Olympic Games events in Sydney and Athens.
This will be the first time The Garrison Society hosts the event with all proceeds going to a worthy cause – the preservation and heritage of the former RNZAF Station Omaka buildings near the Omaka Aerodrome. Hopes of reopening the site as a historical theme park are on the table too.
The site, a key part of Marlborough’s military history, has fallen into disrepair since it ceased to be used for training purposes in 2007.
The Garrison Society says the museum will be the first of its kind in the country, and a boost for tourism in the region:
‘‘We’re hoping that it’s going to end up becoming pretty much New Zealand’s only living history museum,’’ says Garrison Society member Adam North.
‘‘The public will walk in and they’ll be actually on a WWII functioning base. Instead of seeing things behind glass ... you’ll walk into the admin room and people will be there, in period uniform doing administrative tasks. There will be a jeep driving past you outside. You’ll actually be transported back to the era so you can see how things were being done.’’
The society has been custodians of the site since 2013, but only recently began planning to bring the base back to life:
‘‘We started off years ago as another group,’’ says North. ‘‘We were a historical preservation group. Some of our members do re-enactments as well, but our main focus at the moment is the preservation of the RNZAF site, and getting the buildings up to museum status.
It’s all very exciting stuff, and the Victory Dance promises to be a step in the right direction for making those dreams a reality. But there’s still plenty of work to do:
‘‘We’ve got to get the electricity back on here,’’ says Garrison Society member Alan Udy.
‘‘We need weatherboards, paint ... It’s all those really basic things,’’ he said.
‘‘The whole point is to raise funds for the preservation and the restoration. So we thought ‘Let’s do a period dance. Get the Beatgirls over from Wellington.’ They’re pretty good at what they do. We just want people to come along and have a great time.
‘‘Obviously, if people come dressed up, that’s really good. If they don’t, it’s not a problem.
‘‘If they don’t want to dance, if they just want to come and enjoy the theme and the nostalgia, that’s great ... the more people that get into the theme of it, the better.’’
Performances for the Omaka Victory Dance will primarily fea- ture 1940s era swing music, but the final set of the evening will progress into 1950s Rock n Roll for the more ‘modern’ dancing crowd.
To help create an authentic 1940s atmosphere period dress is encouraged. Otherwise, come smartly dressed for a great evening of dancing and nostalgia.
Strictly limited tickets are on sale at $65 per person, which includes finger food. There will be no door sales on the night, so reserve your place on the dance floor while you can.
For more details, go www.tiny.cc/omaka to
Garrison Society member Adam North Garrison Society Members Ernie Smith, left, Adam North, Robyn Smith (front), and Allan Udy in one of the main buildings at the RNZAF Station Omaka.