Jeff and Bea Patrick, Jed Bettelon and sons Jonathan and J.D. wouldn’t have traded their place along the sidewalk of Main Street for any other spot on Saturday morning as the parade rolled through.
Airplanes, fire trucks and floats with riders waving and tossing out enough candy to rival trick-or-treat night passed by as Jonathan and J.D. scrambled to scoop up the sweet treats to the adults’ smiles. This is what the Heritage of Flight Festival is about for the grandparents and dad, who live just a few streets over.
“It brings some pride to our little town,” said Jeff Patrick as the parade wound down. “Other festivals are trying to copy us now, but we have the planes coming down the street.”
The three-day festival, celebrating its 15th year in 2019, saw a cool start to the second day but warmed up quickly for a schedule packed with contests, live entertainment, a bike show and capped by a fireworks display.
The aroma of a variety of foods filled the autumn air as visitors tucked into their choices in store doorways, as the kids enjoyed amusement rides or took in the various vendors’ wares, from honey to anti-bullying information.
Perhaps festival vice president and emcee Marshall Gorby said it best from the main stage — “We are The Greene in beautiful downtown New Carlisle” — referencing the Greene Town Center shopping and dining area in Beavercreek.
Bethel Community Church of Medway had what was likely the most visible free handout on Saturday, giving away 100 walking sticks. People of all ages toted the four-foot long sticks with beads representing the colors of salvation.
Church member Dana Skinner got the idea from a church at another area festival and said they were practical as people are outdoors more and can use them multiple times and be reminded of the church’s values.
PHOTOS: ChalkFest 2019
Sister and brother Brynn and Grant Burlile, ages 12 and 8 respectively, didn’t mind spending their Saturday passing out the sticks and promoting the church. There were rewards after the work was done — food and rides. Grant proudly showed off the tape ball he created from a tic tac toe game Brynn manned as well as filling a half-bag of candy from the parade.
Viewing things you can’t see every day like planes rolling down Main Street are part of the Heritage of Flight Festival. Then there’s the annual Chicken Dance where more of that was on display.
The main stage saw humans, mascots and characters leading the popular dance together, while crowd participants joined in below the stage. These included the festival’s brand-new mascot, Air Bear, a couple of guys in Star Wars cosplay costumes, Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken mascots along with Lee’s president, general manager Scott Griffith, WHIO-TV and Springfield News-Sun reporter Jenna Lawson and Flight Pageant contestants.
Griffith said being there was about way more than selling chicken.
“This is an opportunity to bring people to this small town. It represents who these folks are,” he said.
That’s the pride the Patricks spoke of. Bea Patrick said it was about sharing and participation and seeing those you don’t frequently see, and Bettelon, whose company Garage Kings sponsored the main stage, was grateful for the volunteers who made it work.
The festival will wrap up today with several events including the A Mile of Food food drive at 9 a.m., which will attempt to collect a mile’s worth of non-perishable food stretching from Ohio 571 to the Andy Barnhart Memorial Airport to be donated to local food pantries and churches.
A kiddie tractor pull, the Jim Slanker Memorial Chair Races, where people race customized recliners, and the Silly Safari, an animal show for families, will be among the day’s highlights. The festival will run until 6 p.m.
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