Legend’s Pub was the place to be Friday, as nearly 400 people turned out for a luau.

The themed party included tropical drinks, a buffet with Hawaiian dishes and Polynesian dancers.

“We wanted a tropical way to invite soldiers out to enjoy summertime,” said Shelly Damo, a commercial sales manager with Fort Hood’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, which hosted the event.

Soldiers and families cheered and shouted support as a team of fire dancers performed near the pool. Others participated in limbo and hula-hoop contests.

“I was really excited to have something to do, so we didn’t have to sit at home,” said Monique Reinbold, a military spouse who heard about the event while shopping at the Exchange.

Damo said the adult-oriented party was a way to test the waters for the possibility of future events.

“I like it,” said Andrea Ashworth, fiancée of a soldier.

“I don’t have kids, so all the family (events) leave me out.”

Brandon Truesdale, a chef at Club Hood, said preparing for and cooking the authentic Hawaiian meal was exciting.

“It’s a humbling experience to have this amount of people come here and enjoy themselves,” he said.

He had no idea though, he would be cooking for a battalion of Hawaii natives.

Soldiers of the Hawaii Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 171st Aviation Regiment, happened to be training at North Fort Hood for a deployment to Afghanistan and came down for the luau.

“The food was pretty comforting,” said Sgt. Jesse Dela Cruz. “We’re so tired, but it’s a nice break.”

Contact Rose L. Thayer atrthayer@kdhnews.comor (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here.

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