Members of the Johnson County Historical Commission recently took pictures with Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain to announce an Air Show and Family Day in April.
The Friends of the Johnson County Historical Commission will host a Johnson County Aviation Heritage Day on April 23 at the Cleburne Municipal Airport.
Event Chairman Russ Gibson said there will be a fly-in pancake breakfast, posting of the colors, keynote speakers, civilian and military aircraft static displays, youth achievements and activities, an air show and an antique car show during the event.
Gibson said the event will challenge the youth of Johnson County.
There will be an essay contest, art contest, model contest and for the older youth an engineering contest, Gibson said. Local museums have expressed interest in displaying the winning submissions.
Harmon and the commissioner’s court have endorsed this event and have requested all cities within JC to participate in the event, Gibson said.
“The whole idea for the FoJCHC is to preserve history and promote Johnson County,” Gibson said. “If successful, this will undoubtedly one of the largest efforts.”
Gibson said they want to be in contact with all the school districts to get all the sixth through 12th graders involved.
“We’re just trying to promote aviation because there’s such a rich history in our county,” Gibson said.
Gibson said the event won’t be a typical air show.
“This isn’t your grand-daddy’s air show,” Gibson said. “It’s entirely different. There will be an air show, but a lot more than that.”
Dr. Karla Carmichael, Russ Gibson’s wife, said the focus of the event is different than most air shows.
“It really is different because it focuses on the kids,” Carmichael said.
Carmichael said schools will select the winners of the contests and those winners will come show their work at the event. Members from the Cleburne Cultural Arts Complex will be some of the judges of the other events.
Russ Gibson said they are still working on the details, but maybe the winners of the contest will be in a raffle to be able to go flying for free at the airport.
One of the keynote speakers will be Fiske Hanley II.
Hanley was a B-29 flight engineer who was shot down over Japan in 1945, Gibson said. Hanley was a source for the movie “Unbroken,” and he will tell his story of being a Japanese prisoner in World War II.
Gibson said Hanley is the author of “Accused American War Criminal” and will have a book signing at the event.