Air Fair organizer hopes for soaring interest in aviation
The Garfield County Airport is hosting an air fair Aug. 4-5.Last year, said Airport Manager Brian Condie, the airport decided to hold a fair to basically acquaint Garfield County residents with the airport and raise aviation awareness.”A lot of people in Garfield County didn’t know we had an airport,” he said. The Air Fair is a way to rectify that.”They’re not trying to make money. They’re just trying to get the pilots and the people to have fun,” said Condie, who’s been in charge of organizing the event.”What I want is free public access to the airport. I think some people are a little shy of aviation,” said Condie, and blamed fuel costs and terrorism for what he perceives as a general drop in interest in aviation.Condie, however, is determined to dispel that image.”Last year, we had pilots who said they hadn’t had this much fun in 20 years,” said Condie. “We can bring back fun with aviation.”With just under 2,000 attending the free event last year, the fair was a brimming success, and so this year it’s even bigger and better.And so far, he has a host of different attractions lined up. On Friday evening, there’ll be a barbecue from 3-6 p.m. with all sorts of kids games including an inflatable “bounce” aircraft for kids to play on. Then the main attraction that evening is a flour-bombing contest. For a $10 entry fee, pilots will fly 200 feet over a target and drop five-pound sacks of flour. Whoever bombs the closest to the target wins $350 and a brand-new hunting rifle.”It’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Condie.On Saturday, there are even more attractions scheduled. Beginning at 9 a.m., the airport will have rides of every kind imaginable, from hot air balloons to helicopters to a red baron that will take up two people at a time, said Condie. And though all the shows are free, rides will have a price. The red baron, for example, will cost $200 for a 20-minute ride for two people.There will be plenty of free events also. A flight simulator will be available for visitors to test their aviation skills. There will be a remote control aircraft demonstration. For kids, there will be paper helicopter contests, rubber-band-powered airplanes, balsa plane building and candy airplanes. Also, there’ll be flybys from all manner of planes and jets, and a cadre of Green Beret parachute jumpers will make an appearance. “If we can swing it, we’re trying to get a Lear jet (to do a flyby),” said Condie.But even if he doesn’t get the Lear jet, he’s very happy with how many local business have come out in support of the airport.”Sponsors are giving us a lot of stuff,” said Condie. One example is Glenwood Caverns, which gave Condie “a whole bunch of free passes for us to give out.”Contact John Schroyer: 945-8515, ext. 529 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Visual Journalist Chelsea Self can be reached at 970-384-9108 or email@example.com