Just because the American Heritage Dictionary defines a "salute" as a formal or ceremonious honoring, that doesn't mean that it must also be stuffy and restrained.
The Minot Area Council of the Arts is honoring U.S. military members past and present with a fun musical event on Saturday at the Dakota Territory Air Museum, beginning with a social hour at 6 p.m. Dinner follows at 7, with the show at 8.
MACA executive director Terri Aldrich is emulating the swinging entertainment of the USO shows of the 1940s, getting bigger and better over the many years it's been held. Standing in for the big band sound is the Gentle Winds Orchestra, which will be providing accompaniment.
"Len Haabek, a solo guitarist, is playing a mix of classical and pop standards," Aldrich said. "He's partially retired, I believe, and Gentle Winds Promotions has sent him to a number of different events recently - and everyone's been extremely pleased with him." He'll be playing background music for the social hour and dinner, which is a chicken Kiev meal catered by the Grand International Inn and includes what Aldrich calls "a to-die-for" dessert.
Some 20 volunteers from Minot Air Force Base will be working throughout the evening to ensure everything goes smoothly.
The theme is "P.S. I Love You," with the Gentle Winds septet and the vocal trio Sisters By Choice offering songs such as "Don't Fence Me In," "Apple Blossom Time" and "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy."
"The storyline is the romance carried on by a boy and girl writing to each other, from the time they meet at the county fair through the time he's sent away to war until his return," Aldrich said. "Our emcee for the evening is North Dakota Senator Randy Burckhard, and we have an honor guard from the air base to open the show."
The organizers encourage patrons to dress in period or military dress, which sparks conversations.
"It was quite amazing that a lot of people (in past years) have showed up in costume," Aldrich said. "Things like grandma's wedding dress, and one gal who showed up in her father's uniform jacket. It was nice to hear the stories they talked about."
There is also a silent auction. The grand prize for the evening is a scenic flight over Minot in a biplane.
This is a joint event with the air museum, and in addition to the vintage airplanes on display, members of the local North Dakota Military Vehicle Collectors Association will have some of their antique conveyances present as well.
As a major fundraiser for MACA, prices are set at $40 per person and $75 per couple, with some sponsorships available for an entire table.
"There is limited seating, so we suggest interested people call as soon as possible," said Aldrich. For more information or to make reservations, call 852-2787.