Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat

Friends of Columbia State Historic Park will celebrate Columbia's 69th year as a state park by hosting the 20th annual Big Band Street Dance from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday on Main Street in Columbia.

Admission is free and dress of the 1940s and '50s is encouraged. Prizes will be awarded for best dancers and best 1940s-era costumes.

At 11 a.m., take a free walking tour of town with park aide Sandra Walker, who will focus on life in Columbia during the 1940s.

Throughout the day photo displays will liven the streets and museum depicting various buildings during that time period.

A special guest band will open the evening's festivities at 6 p.m.

Rod Harris and the 20-piece Columbia Kicks Big Band will perform music from the 1940s, '50s and '60s beginning at 7:30 p.m. Guest soloists will include LeRoy Bumgarner on piano, Josh Lewicki and David Livingston on trumpet, Ken Taylor on trombone, Keith Evans on guitar and Gordon Giedt and Rod Harris on saxophones. The band will also feature singers Haley Copello, Jim Anderson and the harmony quartet of Caroline Walsh, Sheryl Max, Andrea Hayes and Joel Ackerman.

The dance music will include swing, jump blues, Latin beats, waltzes, tango and boogie styles.

A dessert auction will also be featured with selections from Columbia's concessionaires and other local businesses. Food and refreshments, including a beer garden, will be available all evening.

New this year is VIP table seating, where guests can enjoy the festivities at a private table. VIP tickets are $15 per person or $50 per table. VIP tables include a complimentary bottle of champagne. Reservations can made by calling 588-0595.

Although admission is free, donations to Friends of Columbia help support educational and historical programs.