July 4th Open House at Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center

July 4th Open House at Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center

More About July 4th Open House at Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center

Susan Habas
Thalian Association Community Theatre

1940’s Fun with Free Coffee & Doughnuts

WILMINGTON, NC–Celebrate July 4th with Thalian Association Community Theatre at the Hannah Block Historic USO/ Community Arts Center open house. The public is invited to join us between 1:00 – 6:00 pm when staff will be in 1940’s era costumes, serving free coffee & doughnuts courtesy of Krispy Kreme. For one day only sodas will return to the WWII price of five cents.

Remember the music and movement of the 1940’s with the Cape Fear Swing Dance Society as they offer free lessons for the popular dances of the era including, the Lindy Hop, East Coast Swing and the Collegiate Shag. The lessons are scheduled for 2 pm and 4 pm in the building lobby with the Home Front Heritage Museum, featuring 1943 replica furnishings and WWII exhibits.

The documentary film Home Away From Home – the USO at 2nd and Orange will be shown all afternoon on the Hannah Block 2nd Street Stage. The 5-minute film was produced in 2016 by Emmy nominated filmmaker Rob Hill to honor the 75th anniversary of the Historic USO Building. The film captures the building’s rich history beginning with WWII, the transition to a community center and how it continues to serve our community today.

Another highlight will be the Wilmington Film Museum located in the Community Gallery and open for tours all day. The museum is a grass roots history project dedicated to the preservation of film and education of film and TV history in the Cape Fear region. The exhibit is created by the Cape Fear Film Network and features artifacts, images, and trivia from films made in Wilmington and elsewhere in North Carolina.

The Second and Orange Streets USO Club was erected by the Army Corps of Engineers at a cost of $80,000 and opened in December 1941. At the height of the war, attendance reached 63,000 per month. Typical events included big band dances, plays, music recitals, art exhibits, hobby shows, guest lectures, wedding receptions, and weekly radio broadcasts. On weekend nights, 600 men crowded into the basement dormitory.

After World War II the City of Wilmington purchased the building for use by the Department of Recreation. Today the Community Arts Center is a major cultural resource for New Hanover County. Classes are offered in a variety of visual and performing arts disciplines and the building is home to the acclaimed Orange Street Potters, the Official North Carolina Azalea Festival Youth Art Contest, the Memorial Day Weekend Festival Orange Street ArtsFest and the Wilmington Art Association Juried Art Show & Sale. The building was rededicated in Hannah Block’s name in 2006, in honor of one of Wilmington’s most distinguished civic leaders and WWII veterans, and in 2016 received the James D. & Rosalie Carr Memorial Plaque from the Historic Wilmington Foundation, Inc.

“July 4th is the perfect day to visit the Historic USO Building that was so important to our soldiers during WWII and is still a vibrant and important community resource today.” said Susan Habas Executive Director of Thalian Association Community Theatre.

The Association has managed the 76-year-old building for the City of Wilmington since 1994.

Established in 1788, Thalian Association Community Theatre is a non-profit, membership organization dedicated to enhancing the Cape Fear region through live community theatre and arts education. Thalian Association Community Theatre produces five major productions annually on the Main Stage at historic Thalian Hall and professionally manages the Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center for the City of Wilmington. The youth theatre program offers training and performance opportunities for children age seven through high school seniors. In 2007, Thalian Association Community Theatre was designated North Carolina’s Official Community Theater by the state legislature. For more information, go to click for details.

Tags: Local Events

Event Details

Date: July 4, 2018
Time: 1:00pm - 6:00pm

Susan Habas

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