Williamsport transforms into the '40s for WWII Weekend
WILLIAMSPORT — World War II veterans who are still alive today are in their 80s and 90s.
And according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs statistics in 2017, 558,000 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II were still alive.
That’s why for Wilbur Snyder with the Allied Airmen Preservation Society MidAtlantic District it’s so important to have something like the WWII Weekend in Williamsport while veterans are still alive to tell their stories. The event will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, at Springfield Farm Barn in Williamsport.
“I’ve been doing this hobby for 16, and I have said met so many WWII vets who are now gone,” Snyder said. “I’m thankful I have their stories and their memories.”
Snyder said he’s “heard some great stories” out of the mouths of the veterans, which is why he’s so passionate about WWII reenactment.
Saturday the event pays tribute to local WWII veterans with a Veterans Appreciation Ceremony at 10 a.m. Snyder said Mission BBQ, which has a long history dedicated to military veterans, will offer gift cards for veterans and their wives.
Throughout the day there will be speakers and living history demonstrators at the barn so visitors can get just a taste of what life was like in the European and Pacific theaters. In addition, the Home Front will be represented with a Victory Garden by the Master Gardners. A local Girl Scout troop will host 1940s games for children. And there will be cars from the 1930s and 1940s on display.
At 2 p.m. Saturday, Snyder said the ever-popular 1940s Fashion Show will kick off, along with dance performances and music. And a live radio presentation will be showcased, along with music by the Williamsport Community Jazz Band.
Saturday evening at 7 p.m. the Springfield Barn will turn into the USO with live music by Jump Alley. The Lindy-Hoppers will be on hand for dance numbers. The dance costs $12 per person or $17 per couple. Period-dress is encouraged. It is the only ticketed event for the weekend.
At 10 a.m. Sunday, there will be a church service at the barn. Living history displays and demonstrations will continue throughout the day. The event will conclude with a Salute to Veterans concert at 3 p.m. by the Williamsport Community Band.
Snyder said he’s hoping other WWII veterans might venture out over the weekend to share their stories with fellow visitors.
“They did what they had to do back then, and they asked nothing in return. That speaks volumes,” he said.
Top photo: Chris Gabers of Elmira, N.Y., puts a bomber-pilot jacket on Sean Plete of Williamsport on Sunday during World War II Weekend at Springfield Barn in Williamsport. The two are next to a 1940 Plymouth military staff car. (Herald-Mail file photo)