Military Weekend is Oct. 3-6

  •  World War II re-enactors fire on a group of German re-enactors holding the Pond Street Bridge during the 2018 military weekend.
    World War II re-enactors fire on a group of German re-enactors holding the Pond Street Bridge during the 2018 military weekend.
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    Books, simulated barrages and the Big Band sound will invade Toccoa this weekend.
    The 19th Currahee Military Weekend kicks off today (Thursday, Oct. 3) and will continue through Sunday morning Oct. 6.
    The annual event, staged through a joint partnership between the Stephens County Historical Society, The Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce and the Main Street Toccoa program, will get underway with the Big Band sound of a Joe Gransden: Night at the Ritz performance.
    Gransden’s talents have been described by actor/director Clint Eastwood “as a young man with an old soul and a classic voice. He is a great new talent with a wonderful sense of humor to boot. And don't forget, he plays a hell of a trumpet!"
    There will be a book signing on Friday, Oct. 4, from 1-5 p.m. at the Currahee Military Museum.
     Featured author will be Robert “Bob” Wheeler, a World War II survivor of the Los Banos (in the Phillippines) internment prison camp. Wheeler is also this year’s keynote banquet speaker.
    As a young boy, Wheeler and his family were captives of the Japanese for three  years. On the day they were to be executed, they were rescued by the 511th with the  11th Airborne.  
    The 511th was the third regiment to train at Camp Toccoa during the war. This rescue is still considered one of the most successful rescue missions of all time.
    The airborne troopers liberated 2,147 captives who still consider the 511th as their “angels on earth.”
    There will be more Big Band swing sounds Friday night as the Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce will host a USO Dance at Reflections at The Links at Lake Toccoa.  
    You may purchase tickets at the Chamber office or at the door on Friday night.      The weekend turns physical Saturday morning, Oct. 5.
    The Currahee Challenge, 3 Miles Up and 3 Miles Down, will be held on Saturday morning at Currahee Mountain. Registration will open at 7 a.m.
    Saturday, Oct. 5 kicks off downtown with breakfast hosted by VFW Post 4346 on Savannah Street. The event starts at 7 a.m. and continues to 10 a.m. Purchase tickets at the door.
    American Legion Post 104 will once again register and orchestrate participants for the Veterans Parade that will start on Doyle Street at 1 p.m.
    If your group or organization would like to participate in the parade, contact the historical society office at 706-282-5055 or contact@toccoahistory.com for a registration form.
    The historical society welcomes back several World War II living historians, re-enactors and encampments that will be set up on Friday and Saturday around the historic courthouse.  
    The public is welcome to see their collections and camp displays.  
    The re-enactors will also be a part of the parade and will have a World War II battle re-enactment immediately following the parade in downtown Toccoa.
    One of the most enjoyed events is the banquet on Saturday night.
    This event will be held at Reflections at The Links at Lake Toccoa.  Tickets may be purchased online, at www.toccoahistory.com/2019-cmw or the museum gift shop at 160 North Alexander St.
    Wheeler will be the featured speaker.
    The weekend’s closing event, also open to the public, is a tribute and memorial to the men who did not make it home after the war.  
    The program will be at the pavilion at Camp Toccoa at Currahee at 8:30 a.m.  Sunday, Oct. 6 at Camp Toccoa at Currahee where the history of the “Toccoa Men” begins.
    For more information or to volunteer to help with the weekend events, call 706-282-5055.