WWII weekend benefits vet home

American Legion Auxiliary Unit 258 Springfield, will sponsor The William W. Perkins WWII Memorial Weekend March 15-16, at The Sidney Hutchinson Memorial Park, 13730 Ball Park Rd., Walker.

William “Bill” W. Perkins enlisted in the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936 and left Denham Springs at 16 headed for northern California. He quickly rose to the rank of sergeant and enlisted in the 184th regiment of the California National Guard. The 184th was absorbed by the 7th Infantry Division and participated in the campaigns assigned to the 7th during the war. Those campaigns included The Aleutian Islands, Kwajalein, Leyte and Okinawa. Perkins was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. He died on Memorial Day, May 28, 2012.

Weekend festivities begin with a USO/Swing Dance from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. March 15 at The Old South Jamboree, 9554 Florida Blvd., Walker. The event will feature a tribute to the golden age of radio with a stage production of an Abbott and Costello Radio Show from March 16, 1944. The radio show will be performed by The Spotlight Theater Players, a community theater group from Denham Springs. The remainder of the night will be a swing dance with music provided by Rosie and The Swingin’ Riveters, an eight-piece swing band from Denham Springs.

Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10, and will be available at the door or by calling (225) 315-3776.

Participating in the March 16th event are the Women Veterans of Louisiana, U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, Stabs Kompanie, Venture Crew of the 506th, and the USS Kidd, with re-enactors representing Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. WWII veterans will be present throughout the day at the veterans tent. Gates open at 9 a.m. Opening ceremonies will include music from the Livingston Parish Children’s Choirs from Denham Springs. Music will also be provided by the Platinum Sound Orchestra of Baton Rouge and Jeremy Downey and Anita Leblanc.

Included in the March 16 events are firing demonstrations of Axis and Allied weapons, an Allied and Axis skirmish, as well as the Main Allied and Axis Battle. Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office will provide a helicopter on site and demonstrations by the K9 Unit. There will be displays from The GI Museum (Ocean Springs, Miss.), Camp Van Dorn WWII Museum (Centerville, Miss.), Louisiana Veterans Administration, the Louisiana National Guard and USS Kidd. Also on display will be military vehicles as well as vintage cars.

Merchandise vendors will sell WWII items, woodcrafts, quilts, yard art, stained glass, pottery, handmade jewelry, embroidery, honey, jellies and jams. Food vendors will also sell funnel cakes, corndogs, hot dogs, roasted peanuts, kettle corn, snow cones and grilled Hawaiian chicken.

All proceeds benefit the Louisiana War Veterans Home, veterans homeless shelters and sending care packages to service men and women overseas. Event times may change.

For information and event schedules, visit http://www.ww2memorialweekend.com.