LEWISTON — Before the curtain rises Sunday on an arena-sized tribute to Maine’s veterans — scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee — creators Henri St. Pierre and Arthur Obie figure they’ll be in the black.

On Monday, the retirees believed they’d sold enough tickets, ads and sponsorships to cover all but $2,000 of their expenses, mostly owed for sound and lighting at the 4,800-seat arena.

If they sold only 100 tickets at the door, costing $20 each for non-veterans, they would erase their remaining debt.

But they weren’t resting. They still sought out more veterans to entertain and pack the audience on the eve of Veterans Day.

“It’s amazing who you run into,” St. Pierre said after he spotted a red “V” on a license plate and pulled over his pick up truck. “I said, ‘Are you a veteran?’ He said ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘How would you like to go and enjoy a show?'”

An hour later, the man planned to attend and St. Pierre shrugged off his own nerve at approaching a stranger.

“Why hold back?” St. Pierre said later. “The guy’s a veteran. He’s a brother. And I regard all the veterans as brothers.”

It’s that drive to help veterans that led St. Pierre, of Auburn, and Obie, of Lewiston, to create the show, “The Salute to Veterans.”

The men and their wives came up with the idea one year ago, after attending Veterans Day shows in Branson, Mo. The theaters and restaurants pampered St. Pierre, who served in the Air Force and the Army Reserve, and Obie, who also served in the Army Reserve.

When they returned, they met with Colisee owner Jim Cain. He signed on.

They went to work signing up sponsors and finding acts.

Entertainers will include the Androscoggin Chorale, the Tardy Brothers, stand-up comedian Mark Turcotte, magic man Anthony Leone and the Fanfare Concert band. Rep. Michael Michaud, D-Maine, many local lawmakers and Maine first lady Ann LePage plan to attend. Rep. Michel Lajoie, D-Lewiston, will read a proclamation and a resolution from the Maine Legislature.

A pair of local military units, the 619th Transportation Company, an Army Reserve company out of Auburn, and a Marine Reserve unit from Brunswick, Company A, 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, also plan to be there.

So far, St. Pierre and Obie have given away more than 800 tickets to veterans and sold 221 tickets. More have been distributed by the Colisee box office.

“We’re not nervous,” said Obie, who is 72. “I got up this morning and my wife asked, ‘How did you sleep?'”

“Like a rock,” Obie answered. “There’s nothing to be nervous about.”

St. Pierre, 70, said he is also calm.

The guys figure they’ve been working for nearly a year on the project and have found lots of help.

When the show begins Sunday, they’ll hang backstage. When it’s over, they plan to thank the veterans as they leave.

“If you see us, that’s probably what we’ll be doing,” Obie said.

People can buy tickets online at thecolisee.com and at the Colisee box office. Any veteran with a valid military or Veterans Administration ID or discharge will be entitled to free admission.

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