Excitement builds in New Carlisle for festival’s return

The excitement is building in New Carlisle. You can feel it in the air. Drive down Main Street and you can see it on people’s faces. Last weekend the stage went up and the Beer and Brat Hanger too. Things are gradually falling in place. It’s really going to happen this year.

The Heritage of Flight Festival is back.

October 1-3, the first weekend of October, is packed with activities from 2 p.m. Friday afternoon to 6 p.m. Sunday. The schedule can be found online at HeritageofFlight.com and printed out at numerous places downtown.

“I think the most exciting news about the festival is the simple fact that we are back. We are working hard to give everyone an opportunity to come out and enjoy a great weekend in New Carlisle,” Mayor Mike Lowrey said.

There is at least one big event scheduled each day, but Saturday is crazy busy.

One of the largest classic car shows in the state will fill Main Street on Friday evening. In the past there have been as many as 800 cars. A new event, a Wright Brothers and Sister lookalike contest for kids 12 and under is scheduled for 6 p.m.

The 5K Walk Run starts off Saturday. New Carlisle’s famous Airplane Parade begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday with at least 30 airplanes. The Pageant immediately follows. At 2 p.m. motorcycles take off on a Toy Run across two counties and end up in a giant motorcycle show Saturday afternoon. Fireworks begin at 10 a.m.

The Blessing of the Badges is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

Numerous unique events like the Chicken Dance, Unicorn Challenge and Armchair Races fill the times in between. Concessions and carnival rides entertain the young folks all three days. The whole weekend is creatively dedicated to fun and celebration of community.

New Carlisle is solidly behind this event and the organizers are grateful for the generous sponsorship of local businesses and all the volunteers.

However, New Carlisle and western Clark County in general are also known for a phrase you see illustrating their emergency vehicles, “Neighbors Helping Neighbors.” Organizers of the event have found some fantastic ways to use this great gathering to help those in need in the community.

Organizer Marshall Gorby is enthused about this year’s attempt to get a whole mile of food donated. He is hoping that this third year will be the charm.

“I’m very determined,” said Gorby, who has already gotten a head start on this project that kicks off at 9 a.m. Sunday.

People have been dropping groceries off at the New Carlisle Fire House, New Carlisle Chrysler Plymouth Dodge, and Hometown IGA to construct a mile of food single file end to end that will begin at the corner of Main and Jefferson and progress down the centerline of Rt. 571 to the airport.

Clark County Prosecutor Dan Driscoll had a food collection event Tuesday evening at the 571 Grill and Draft House west of town.

The Tecumseh AFJROTC cadets and FFA members will assist Gorby as they place each food item single file, end to end from the middle of town to the airport.

When this Mile of Food was attempted in 2019, people arrived from as far away as Troy to deliver groceries.

As Gorby explained, any monetary donations even donated that morning are immediately turned into groceries to add to the length of the food line.

I’m thinking about donating spaghetti or tall boxes of cereal, any long, tall food I can find.

Remember donated food items must be non-perishable and capable of being stored until needed in the winter or spring.

Gorby said the road will be closed during the collection event from 9 a.m. until they reach a mile, hopefully around noon. He suggested that people might want to take a nice family walk down the closed road to place their own donations in the line.

“We just want people to actually see it,” said Gorby.

Gorby believes it will be a tremendous expression of how much this community cares for others.

The donated food will go to the Bethel Churches United Food Pantry.

Another way that the Heritage of Flight Festival is giving back is on Saturday afternoon.

The Marine Corps Toys for Tots Motorcycle Run departs from the American Legion Post #286 at 2251 N. Dayton Lakeview Road at 2 p.m. This event is also sponsored by Buckeye Hog Chapter #2951. The police escort will lead them to the Freedom Grove 9/11 Memorial in Urbana then back to New Carlisle passing under an American flag that will be suspended from a New Carlisle Fire Dept. Ladder Truck. Have your cameras ready.

Motorcycle Show begins at 3 p.m. Saturday.

A year ago this festival and many more were canceled because of the pandemic and even though this festival is going full speed ahead, it needs to be noted that organizers are aware that the pandemic is still going on.

The Pancake Breakfast has been canceled because of social distancing concerns. The Chicken Noodle Supper will be takeout only and is happening on Friday but not Saturday.

“Wear a mask if you want. We will have masks available free of charge if someone wants to wear one,” said Gorby. “There will be lots of hand sanitizer stations.”

We have come a long way in this last year. Being appropriately cautious makes events like this possible. And volunteers as usual make the world go round.

If you would like to offer some last minute help to make this event an even bigger success, there is an online volunteer form on the New Carlisle Heritage of Flight Facebook page. Being involved makes an event even better.