Wings and wheels are among the draws that have made one festival into an anticipated first-weekend-in-October tradition. This weekend it will take flight again while staying firmly on the downtown streets.
The Heritage of Flight Festival features three days of activities and entertainment for a landmark 15th year, 2 to 11 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday in downtown New Carlisle.
Festival president Mike Lowrey said it’s always been about providing a fun environment in a safe place with a focus on affordable or free entertainment and activities.
“It’s just a nice array of stuff for people where they can feel good for a few days,” he said.
Whereas a number of nearby festivals have their own signature dishes, Heritage of Flight was lacking. That changes in 2019 with the introduction of airplane-shaped sugar waffles made from specially-commissioned molds.
“We feel really good about this. We hope visitors will enjoy these,” Lowrey said.
Friday’s highlights will include the classic cruise-in on Main Street with live music from the Fleez, a chicken and noodle dinner and a silent auction.
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A pancake breakfast will kick off Saturday at 7 a.m. Attendees may need it for the full slate including a 5K walk/run at 8, followed by the the annual parade featuring 15 to 20 planes that will pass through the city streets at 11 with NewsCenter 7 Chief Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs as grand marshal.
A motorcycle show has been one of the most popular festival additions and grew to include 300 participants last year and may draw even more in 2019, according to Lowrey. It will run from 3 to 10 p.m.
Food challenges are also big. The Unicorn Challenge at 3 will feature not the mythical creatures, but ice cream cones and ice cream that Lowrey said is one of the funniest things you can imagine at such an event. Hint: the cone is where the unicorn connection comes in.
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A wing-eating contest will follow at 5 featuring cash prizes for top finishers. Classic rock from the Hathaways will begin at 7:30.
During another new feature at 1 on Saturday and 2 on Sunday, DP&L will do a demonstration called “Think Hot, Stay Safe.” It will bring in power transformers to show how they work.
Sunday will be highlighted by the A Mile of Food food drive. Started in 2018, it will attempt to gather a mile’s worth of non-perishable food stretching from State Rt. 571 to the Andy Barnhart Memorial Airport to be donated to local food pantries and churches.
The initial event gathered a quarter-mile of items and Lowrey hopes to improve on that this time out.
“With winter and the holidays coming up, there are a lot of people who could use that food and we’re proud to help with that,” he said.
Anyone interested can bring their items that morning. Some brought truckloads last year and organizers are grateful for whatever is donated.
Another fun activity is the Jim Slanker Memorial Chair Races where people customize recliners to race in for prizes. Rounding things out is the new feature Silly Safari, an animal show with a variety of critters aimed at families.
Lowrey added that the annual fireworks that normally go off on Saturday night will likely not be presented this year due to the dry conditions.
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