Fly0821

Jaxon Cupp, right, and Hendrix Cupp sit in an airplane at the annual Arlington Fly-In on Aug. 17.

 

Planes, drones, hot air balloons and much more came to the Arlington Airport as part of the annual Arlington Fly-In for pilots and local families.

The event was held Aug. 16 to 18 this year.

The aviation themed festival is usually one of the largest gatherings of small planes in the country each year and is meant to teach families about flight.

“We’re really focused on all ages learning all things aviation,” said Kristin Banfield, a volunteer for the Arlington Fly-In.

Families frequently come down to the Fly-In to meet with pilots and see pieces of aviation history.

"We just got here, but we come every year. It's a great event for the whole family. The kids really enjoy seeing all the planes," said local parent Kristen Dollison.

"It just brings the community together," she added.

Many families come down for the fun time for kids.

"This is our first time here and it's been perfect," said local parent Marisa Betz. "We wanted to come down for the kids. They're having a great time."

Families also like the mix of activities that are available throughout the Fly-In.

“They have a wonderful air show and a mix of things. Warbirds, a military camp with re-enactors and a lot of homebuilt airplanes or airplanes that have been restored, and those are just cool to see,” said Larry Simburger, who organized this year's hot air balloon section of the festival.

The event also brings many in the community together.

“Other than that it’s just a gathering of the community. There is a lot of people who have put a lot of time and effort into this and they love it, we all love it,” said volunteer Dave Wold.

He has been with the event for about 15 years and said that he enjoys being a part of the Fly-In.

“When you do it year after year it becomes almost a family of volunteers,” said volunteer Debbie Wold, Dave's wife.

“You go a whole year without seeing everybody and then you’re all hugging,” she said.

Simburger said after the great reception to last year's hot air balloon shaped like a birthday cake, the balloon section of this year's festival was increased.

Three special hot air balloons were brought along with other regular balloons and a balloon glow was held during the evening.

“It’s a lot of fun to see people’s eyes light up and they don’t often know much of how hot air  balloons operate,” said Simburger.

A cartoon bird, an anthropomorphized clock and a butterfly balloon were part of this year's festival.

“People love them. This is inflated, animated art that is larger than life,” said Bob Romaneschi, owner of the butterfly hot air balloon and local business Ballooning Snohomish.

“There’s so many balloons now that bring life to so many characters,” he said.

Romaneschi took his first hot air balloon ride after he bought his first house.

“The realtor was using a balloon for advertising and we jokingly said ‘if we bought a house would you take us for a balloon ride,’” he said.

Since then he's only gotten more involved and started his own business, and said he enjoys giving people hot air balloon trips around the town of Snohomish.

“There’s no tipping, rocking or swaying so you get a feeling like you’re floating above the trees,” Romaneschi said.

This year saw the date of the festival move back from mid-July to mid-August.

There were a few reasons for the move.

“First, it was combined with a lot of other events that we were doing in Arlington at the exact same time,” said Banfield.

That put a big workload on local volunteers and city staff for the month of July.

Secondly, the mid-August date is better for families.

“In July, being so close to the longest day of the year, a lot of our events that had to be done in the evening were happening really late,” said Banfield. “That was frankly too late for a lot of little kids.”

More information about the annual event is available at arlingtonflyin.org.

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