I think swing music is happy music, and that’s why I love the Glenn Miller Swing Festival in Fort Morgan, Colorado. This is a happy event that celebrates one of this town’s favorite sons, Glenn Miller.
World famous big band musician, Glenn Miller, went to high school in Fort Morgan. The story goes, in addition to football, as a high schooler, Miller loved music and skipped his own graduation ceremony to head to Laramie, Wyoming to play in a band. His mother had to pick up his diploma for him.
While Miller’s life story didn’t have a happy ending — he was lost in a plane disappearance during WWII at the age of 40 — the Eastern Colorado town of Fort Morgan annually honors his memory with festivities.
The Grand Plan
A true Americana kind of town, Fort Morgan is an idyllic place to celebrate this style of music, and for three days the town comes alive with the sound of brass and drums.
Part community festival, part music festival, Glenn Miller Swing Fest welcomes swing music aficionados from around the country to partake in the event.
This is a sort of “pick and choose your adventure” sort of festival with a variety of events starting on Thursday evening and ending on Saturday night. The schedule includes history presentations about Glenn Miller, a community barbeque, social cocktail gatherings, Glenn Miller movies, a street dance and more. Nearly all of these events include live music.
A Swingin’ Kind of Town
Only an hour from Denver, Fort Morgan, located in Morgan County, is where the “prairie meets the sky,” and I’m here to tell you that it’s a beautiful and somewhat under appreciated area of Colorado.
One of my favorite Thai restaurants is located in Fort Morgan, Little Bamboo, and one of the state’s most fantastic Italian restaurants, O’ Sole Mio Trattoria Italiana is also in town.
This isn’t the big city and the sidewalks roll up at night, but that’s part of Fort Morgan’s charm. It’s a true throwback, the kind of place that still has an old-fashioned movie theater on Main Street.
Whether you go for the day or the weekend, Glenn Miller Swing Fest in Fort Morgan is a toe tappin’ good time. For more info on where to stay, where to eat and what to do in Morgan County, visit MorganCountyTourism.com.
Glenn Miller Swing Festival
August 17-19, 2017
Events take place around Fort Morgan, Colorado
*some events are ticketed (see festival website for details)
Note from the Mayor: This event has a big heart as well as strong community roots and is one of the festivals that inspired me to focus on Colorado’s small town festivals back in 2010. I am delighted that individuals within Fort Morgan and Morgan County recognize the benefits of continuing this unique festival.
Featured Festivals spots on HeidiTown are paid advertisements. If you’d like to have your festival or event considered for a feature contact TheMayor@HeidiTown.com. Thank you!
Put on your reddest lips and slip on your most comfortable dancing shoes, it’s time for one of Colorado’s most unique events, the 1940s WWII Era Ball.
I have been to the ball and it was a terrific experience. The Big Band Christmas Ball, produced by the same folks, has also become a tradition in my family. The popularity of these two events has resulted in a third ball being added in September, the Voodoo Island 1940s & 1950s Tiki Exotica Ball.
Being involved in these parties has even inspired Ryan and I to take swing lessons, so that we can cut a proper rug on the dance floor at these events. We’re usually the ones salsa dancing to big band music, which can be done, but just doesn’t look as good.
The 1940s WWII Era Ball is held annually at the Boulder Airport, an ideal location for an event that includes vintage airplanes, a 40s car show, military vehicles and re-enactors. The ball is taking place Father’s Day weekend and features a 1940s USO style show with Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra and the Andrews Sisters. The world famous Las Vegas Bob Hope impersonator, Bill Johnson, has been booked for the ball this year.
My favorite part of the ball is dancing the night away to the tunes of The Hot Tomatoes, the Rocky Mountain’s most sought after big band. It’s impossible not to get up and boogie when this band is on the stage.
The airport grounds are transformed into a festive atmosphere with food vendors and cocktail stands. I recommend getting to the ball early enough to tour the vintage cars and airplanes while it’s still light out so that you can take some photos.
The event is a salute to “The Greatest Generation,” and many of these men and women come to the ball. In fact, there is a vast array of ages and faces at this event, and everyone is friendly so be ready to make a few new friends.
This year’s theme is Casablanca and the hanger at the airport will be transformed into Rick’s CafÃ© American, complete with belly dancers, Rick, Sam and a working roulette table.
This is truly a night to remember, and last year the ball sold out. This year, the 1940s WWII Era Ball will be held Saturday, June 16 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance through the website and $35 at the door. Children under 12 are not permitted.
Now here’s your chance to win a pair of tickets to this fantastic event. Just leave a comment here telling me your favorite classic film. I know many of you love “Casablanca,” but my favorite is Hitchcock’s “Rear Window.”
The winner will be chosen using Random.org on Monday, June 4 at 3 p.m.
This past summer, one of the most standout events I attended was the 1940s WWII Ball. My husband and I didn’t really know what to expect, but by the end of the night we both agreed that this was the most fun we’d had at an event in a long time, and we go to A LOT of events.
This is the sort of evening out that creates memories, not only because it’s unique, but a lot of characters attend the 1940s WWII Ball, and they make this event the cat’s meow. From singers to swing dancers, to band members, to hosts, to regular guests who come decked out in unbelievable 1940s garb from head to toe, there’s never a dull moment.
The 1940s WWII Ball is held annually at the Boulder Airport, and features a hanger for dancing, a big stage, lots of vintage airplanes, a couple themed bars, entertainment and much more. When we saw the caliber of the dancers who were in attendance, we had no intention of dancing – we’re not really great at swing – but judging by the number of blisters on my feet the next day, we ended up spending hours on the dance floor. Big band music is just so infectious!
Now it’s time for the 2nd Annual Big Band Christmas Ball, by the same people who brought you the 1940s WWII Ball.
Last June, HeidiTown ran a contest for tickets to the WWII Ball, and the organizers have been good enough to decide to give away tickets again through this blog. This time, you can sign up here to win a pair of tickets (an $80 value) to the Big Band Christmas Ball.
The event is on December 10, 2011, and will be held at the Boulder Elks Lodge. The night will feature the big band, The Hot Tomatoes. This band plays the WWII Ball and I can tell you for a fact that they are truly HOT – it’s hard to stay seated when the guys are playing
There will also be re-enactments from famous Christmas shows like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “White Christmas.” Frank Sinatra will be there, along with the Andrew Sisters tribute act, Reveille 3. Other entertainment will include everything from ice carvers to chestnuts roasting on an open fire.
Believe me, you don’t want to miss this event. I’m not!
Guest are encouraged to dress up in 40s and 50s vintage era clothing, and although this isn’t a requirement, my husband and I dressed the part at the 1940s WWII Ball. We didn’t go all out, like some of the people there, but for some reason, it just makes the evening that much more fun.
So, if you’d like to win a pair of tickets to Big Band Christmas Ball in Boulder, Colorado, just leave me a comment below telling me your favorite Christmas movie, and you’ll be entered into the random drawing that will take place at approximately 3 p.m. Friday, November 25, 2011.
Tickets to this event make an excellent early Christmas present! To purchase tickets to the Big Band Christmas Ball go here.
~ Contest Closed ~
I think this is one of the most unique festivals in Colorado.
Celebrate the music of Fort Morgan’s favorite and most famous son at the Glenn Miller SwingFest, June 23-26, 2011.
Boys, put on your zoot suit and winged tipped shoes and girls, get out the hot iron. It’s time for the 1940s WWII Era Ball at Boulder Airport. This unique event caught my eye several years ago, and last year we bought tickets for my in-laws to attend. They had a blast, so this year, the Mayor will be putting on her dancing shoes and joining the party!
The 1940s WWII Era Ball is a salute to “The Greatest Generation,” and this year’s event will be held Saturday, June 18, 2011. The schedule of events includes everything from swing lessons, a paratrooper skydiving reenactment, hula dancers, a USO style show with celebrity impersonators, dancing to the Hot Tomatoes big band and so much more. The evening also promises to deliver spontaneous 1940s reenactments throughout the night.
Guests will have the opportunity to get up and personal with real planes from WWII, and can even arrange to get a ride in a TBM Avenger or a Stearman Biplane. Other planes that will be at the event include the Staggerwing, the T6 Texan, the T-28, The Beech 18 WWII trainer plane, and the Fairchild P23.
Ball guests are encouraged to dress in period clothing. Last week I stopped by Rockin’ Robin’s Retro & Retail Store in Niwot, and discovered some perfect vintage outfits for the ball. If you are in need of the proper WWII era outfit, be sure to shop at Rockin’ Robins.
And now for the really good part”¦ the Mayor of HeidiTown.com is giving away a pair of tickets to the 1940s WWII Era Ball! This is a $60 value. If you’d like to be entered into the contest, please let me know that you were here by leaving a comment and telling me one of the names of the many WWII era planes that will be at the Boulder Airport during the ball.
A winner will be chosen in a random drawing on Friday, May 13 at 10 a.m.
~ CONTEST CLOSED ~
All net proceeds of the 1940s WWII Era Ball go to The Wounded Warrior Project and The Spirit of Flight Center Colorado. If you don’t win a free ticket here, I strongly encourage you to purchase a ticket online at www.1940sball.org. You can also join the ball on Facebook here.