The skies over the city of Madisonville will be getting a little busier later this month with the arrival of a one-of-a-kind event on April 30 at the Madisonville Regional Airport.
“Beech Bash in the Bluegrass” started as a fun weekend event suggested by a pilot who frequents the airport. The man, who airport board members say owns a farm between Madisonville and Dawson Springs, flies from his residence in Florida to Hopkins County on a regular basis aboard a Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft. He suggested the facility could host a “fly-in” for Beechcraft enthusiasts.
Fly-ins, a relatively new event type, are like cruise-ins except for planes instead of cars. Aviators gather to share their love of flying, and in this case, of one specific type of aircraft.
Board chairman Jim Riddle said airport staff and the board readily agreed to host the event, expecting to get between five and ten planes. They originally expected to cook food and drive attendees around themselves. Things didn’t work out that way.
“There are now 110 people signed up for this,” Riddle told the airport board during its monthly meeting on Monday, explaining that the pilot who suggested the event happens to be friends with the president of a Beechcraft enthusiast’s organization. Once word got out, attendance exploded.
Those attending the fly-in will get a pancake breakfast, live bluegrass music, food trucks and a trip to Bard’s Distillery in Graham.
The event itself requires pre-registration and tickets, and will mostly be geared towards the aviation community. While the airport would love to share the special event with the community, the facility simply lacks parking to host the public at large.
With that in mind, however, they are organizing at least one event that might interest local residents. At around 7 a.m. on April 30 there will be a “Dawn Patrol” event in which between 12 and 15 Bonanzas will fly in formation over Main Street in Madisonville. If possible they will plan a second flight at around noon.
The airport is already working with local hotels and the Madisonville Enterprise car rental service to accommodate as many event goers as possible for both April 29 and 30. With 110 possible plans pre-registered, the event could prove to be huge for both businesses. There will even be shuttle buses to ferry those people who can’t get a rental car from the airport to their hotel.
If successful, the board would like to see Beech Bash to become a yearly event. The goal is to provide as much local flavor as possible, so organizers are still accepting food trucks and possibly other vendors for the event.