FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 9, 2013) -- The Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program will host a Black and White Masquerade Ball May 18 at Divots from 8 p.m. to midnight, and attendees are encouraged to be fashionably late.

"A lot of times we have all these balls, but we Soldiers have to wear our uniform," said Spc. Doris Johnson, Fort Rucker BOSS president. "This is an opportunity for Soldiers to enjoy themselves without the traditional military setting."

The ball is a formal and semi-formal event. It includes hors d`oeuvres and a walk down the red carpet. And the event is not just for single Soldiers.

"It is open to the public and married couples, military or not. This event is for everyone in the area," Johnson explained.

Attendees are not required to wear black and white, and attire can be anything from khakis and button-down shirts to ball gowns. Participants are welcome to bring a decorated mask, if desired. A mask is included as part of the $15 pre-event ticket cost.

"People can wear whatever they choose in whatever color they choose. We just ask that no one wears jeans. We want people, especially Soldiers, to have an opportunity to dress up," said Johnson.

This is the first time BOSS will hold an event like this and its president said the masquerade theme is rooted in the idea that Soldiers could express themselves.

"It is exciting for a lot of Soldiers to be able to get out of their uniforms," Johnson explained. "They want to be creative and dress to impress without the military setting. People don't always enjoy going to the typical Army balls. This is their off time; we don't want anyone having to put on the uniform after duty," she said.

Johnson said that it might not seem a big deal, and even silly to civilians, but for military personnel it is momentous to dress up without the uniform.

"We want to do different things and this is a chance for Soldiers who are so restricted in their dress to be able to put on dramatic makeup, wear tall heals and strut their stuff," she continued.

For Soldiers who have not had the chance to do this in a long time, it is what they have been waiting for, she said.

"We want people to have fun getting dolled up and creative with their outfit for this masquerade," she added.

There will be a cash bar and pictures are included in ticket price.

A disc jockey will be present throughout the night, which will be conducted as social hour with food, conversation and dancing.

Johnson said having the support of the installation for this event means a lot to the Soldiers because some are stationed here without their Families. Having time to relax and be social with others is an important part of maintaining an effective and competent Army.

"We want people to come and support the BOSS program. It is going to be a fun, classy night for all ages and backgrounds, and the proceeds go towards improving the quality of life for single Soldiers. It is going to be a professional party so come out," said Brian Jackson, Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation program manager.

Tickets are currently on sale for $15 until the close of business on May 15. Ticket price at the door will be $20.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 379-4594 or visit DFMWR in Bldg. 5700.