Vintage biplanes from years past gave rides to the public and could be explored on the ground during the annual Barnstorming Carnival at Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport on Saturday. The event continues Sunday. Photo by Brett Turner

Barnstorming Carnival brings aviation fun on skies, ground

Hunter Meier couldn’t keep his head out of the clouds on Saturday although his feet were firmly planted on the ground at Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport.

The 10-year-old whose guardian made an hour-and-15-minute drive up from the Union City, Ohio area explored the various aircraft at the Barnstorming Carnival, eager to climb in to explore the pilots’ views without any desire to take flight.

“That was the coolest. It was like I was actually flying,” Meier marveled to guardian Carol Thomas as he exited a cockpit.

This was part of why event organizer Dewey Davenport brought the two-day event to Springfield back in 2014 and continues as a summer tradition. The carnival will continue 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Designed for families, the event offers various classic aircraft from the 1920s to 1940s and beyond.

Admission is free and biplane rides are available for a fee. The airport is located at 1251 W. Blee Road off state Route 68.

Although physical limitations keep Meier from a lot of activities, he makes up for it with a voracious appetite for reading. He discovered a biography of Amelia Earhart and it captured his imagination.

“She’s really cool. She even shattered gender stereotypes,” he said, showing a strong command of language.

Thomas smiled and said she’s sometimes amazed at the things he says. It’s that type of enthusiasm that brought them to Springfield after discovering the carnival on a Facebook events page.

Jared Berner of New Carlisle was as excited as Meier was as the latter explored his Piper J-3 Cub aircraft. Aviation is in his blood, taking his first flight by his grandfather at 6 months.

He had a pilot’s license before he had a driver’s license for his 16th birthday.

“This is what makes it all worthwhile to see because it’s the thrill I had,” said Berner.

In addition to kids’ activities, a classic car show was added for the first time on Saturday. Otherwise, keeping things simple and adhering to what people like are what Davenport strives for.

“We try to share things for people to enjoy they wouldn’t normally get to see,” he said.

The Roberts family of Springfield is making the Barnstorming Carnival an annual activity.

David Roberts and wife Vicki have attended previous carnivals and enjoyed biplane rides David wanted his son’s family to do the same, paying for their first biplane ride.

On Saturday morning, Andrew Roberts, wife Gretchen and kids Lauren and Adam climbed into a plane built in 1930 for the open-air experience.

“Incredible,” was Andrew’s description of the flight, recognizing Yellow Springs and Young’s Dairy among the landmarks, but confessed a sudden dive and swoop surprising.

“I’m happy to be back on the ground, but I’d do it again,” Gretchen added.

As for Lauren, she’ll have something to talk about when she begins band camp at Northeastern High School in a few weeks.

Young’s Jersey Dairy co-founder Carl Young was one of the oldest folks to take a ride, checking out the business he started from the skies overhead, trying to recognize the various landmarks there.

What he found surprising were how many trees were visible. Young said it’s not unusual to have an aircraft touch down in the field across the highway from the dairy store to grab an ice cream cone and head back into the skies.

Davenport said he appreciates the support of the Springfield community as it also gives people a chance to explore the airport as some may not be familiar with it.

For more information on the Barnstorming Carnival, go to www.barnstormingcarnival.com.

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