August 10, 2014

Castle Air Museum planning Open Cockpit Day, variety show and dinner dance

Flight simulators, helicopter rides and vintage aircraft part of family-friendly event

Two major events loom late this month and early next month for the Castle Air Museum – an Open Cockpit Day showcasing its vintage aircraft and a first-ever dinner-dance and variety show titled “Thanks for the Memories, a Salute to the Greatest Generation.”

Joe Pruzzo, executive director of the Castle Air Museum, said the Sept. 6 dinner-dance is the first event of its type for the museum. It is intended to raise about $20,000 for museum activities.

Bill Johnson, a Las Vegas entertainer and comedian Bob Hope impersonator, will be the master of ceremonies for the dinner dance, which also features three women performing songs in the style of the Andrews Sisters as the Swingin’ Blue Stars.

The 17-piece 3 O’Clock Jump Band, directed by Gus Wedenmeyer, will deliver big band sounds of the 1940s, Pruzzo said, and a three-course meal prepared by Alex Bianchi also is planned along with a no-host bar.

Pruzzo said 3,000 to 4,000 people or more are expected for the Aug. 31 Open Cockpit Day. A Memorial Day weekend Open Cockpit Day has been running for 18 years and the later-summer event was introduced six years ago, Pruzzo said, and have been phenomenally successful.

The Open Cockpit Day runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the air museum at 5050 Santa Fe Drive, Atwater. About 35 of the 60 vintage aircraft will be open for viewing.

Pruzzo said flight simulators will be operating and the event will include helicopter rides, a children’s bounce house, aircraft models for children to make, law enforcement displays and radio control aircraft exhibits.

With the dinner-dance, tickets are $60 per person and only 400 seats are available. Tickets are available at the Museum Gift Shop, (209) 723-2182 or (209) 617-9171. No tickets will be sold at the door and patrons must be 21 years old to attend.

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