Celebrating the skies

Sequim Gazette

The Sequim Valley Airport plans to host an Air Affaire to celebrate the airport’s 30th anniversary and Sequim’s 100th anniversary on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.


The day will be organized like a classic 1920s barnstorming event, where aviators from far and wide converge on an airfield to exhibit their planes and stunts.


Capt. Crystal Stout, Andy Sallee and Emily Westcott are still in pre-planning stages for the event, but even now Stout says that several things will be guaranteed.


The day will exhibit flybys and air shows from antique planes, remote control aircraft, aviation-themed work from artists and artisans, and even the chance to enter an inflated hot air balloon.


Stout, the event’s spokesman, said that she, Sallee and Westcott are considering a number of ideas. The events listed above, she says, are guaranteed, but the three-person committee also is trying to get skydivers, wing walkers and possibly a military flyby.


The event also will have a number of community-oriented features. Planes will be on display. Local artists and artisans will be able to feature aviation-themed work. They’re also working on getting a stage and hope to get local bands and vendors to provide food and music. Also on site will be Claudia Hagen, the first commercially rated hot air balloon pilot in California’s Central Valley, and hopefully a representative from the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles Program. Hagen pioneered ballooning to the air show industry in the 1980s, and the Young Eagles Program provides youth ages 8-17 the chance to fly in a general purpose aircraft.


Stout says that the day will open with hot air balloons ascending into the sky over the Sequim prairie, giving the aircraft pilots time to prep their planes and “announcing” the day’ s events.


“It’s like a crescendo to the main event,” Stout explained.


“I’m looking forward to having an air show on the peninsula,” said Stout. “Having aerial displays is exciting to me, anything that flies is exciting to me.”


The event has been a long time in planning, said Sallee, who owns the Sequim airport. While on one hand he wants to have a memorable event, Sallee says the three organizers “don’t want to bite off more than we can chew!”


He wants to keep the event small and local to celebrate Sequim and its aerial history, but stay neighbor-friendly. Stout hopes to keep the event local by having local volunteers assisting and local food vendors. Proceeds from the two days will go to benefit Stout’s Dreamcatcher Balloon Program.


While nothing is finalized at this time, the organizers are excited about the possibilities of celebrating aviation in the Sequim Valley in style.


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