By Melissa Dabe
New Carlisle celebrates its local flying tradition this weekend during the Heritage of Flight Festival and Parade.
The festival kicks off at 4 p.m. today with a cruise-in, and Mike Lowrey, President of the festival committee, said there will be about 800 cars participating. “Friday night, if the weather is good, we’ll have the fourth largest cruise-in in Ohio,” said Lowrey. “And this year we’re having some craft vendors open up so there’s something for the ladies to do while the men are checking out the cars.”
Saturday begins with entertainment at 10 a.m., and the Parade of Planes and Community Parade starts at 11 a.m. The parade’s grand marshall is George Dennewitz, 97, of Medway, who was a pilot with the Flying Angels, the original group of pilots from the New Carlisle airport. Also in the parade will be the Shriners, Boy Scouts, the Tecumseh football team and 20 or more planes from the local airport. “The planes are pulled down the street by antique John Deere tractors,” said Lowrey. “That is neat to see.”
New this year is a parachute jump by Team Fastrax, a professional parachuting troupe. “It will be around 10:45, right before the community parade,” said Lowrey. “They will have six men jump with a giant American flag.”
“There will also be food and craft vendors open following the parade, and the stores have sidewalk sales,” said Lowrey. “The food is great. Everyone comes to a festival for the food, and this won’t disappoint.”
Lowrey says the hot-wing eating contest is popular. For a $5 entry fee, participants see how many wings they can eat in one minute. “By the end, they are covered in red sauce. It’s just dripping off of them!” said Lowrey. “Last year we had 40 people competing. The winners get cash prizes and trophies. It’s on Saturday at 6 p.m. First place wins $150 and a trophy, second gets $100 and a trophy and third wins a trophy.”
Out of all the activities going on, Lowrey says it’s the small, hometown experience that makes the event special. “There is so much to do that is free or inexpensive. There is something for the whole family.”