History, technology and engineering combine for two fun-filled days at the 4th Annual Marvel of Flight.
Held at the DeFuniak Springs airport, the event was a past project of the Leadership Walton class of 2011.
"The original purpose was to showcase the airport and support economic development," said Ryan Adams, DeFuniak Springs airport supervisor.
Now, in its fourth year, the event has grown to include pilot seminars, aircraft displays, aviation vendors, skydiving as well as kids activities.
"It's just about fun," Adams said. "You get to hear old pilots talking about their starts, watch a rocket launch, and visit more than 100 planes."
Aviation enthusiasts from around the country bring their aircraft to Marvel of Flight to share with their passion with the public.
"We get people coming in by word of mouth, now we have people contacting us wanting to be a part of the event," said Adams. "We have new, state-of-the-art plans, antiques from the 1920s, hot air balloons, helicopters — if it flies, people are down here showcasing it."
Organizations such as the WWII Historical Association of Florida, Friends of Army Aviation and even NASA Kennedy Space Center will have interactive exhibits. With so much to offer, Adams says, attendance continues to double in size each year.
"Our first year, about 1,000 people came out," he said. "Last year we have 5,000. This year we expect anywhere from 7-10,000."
Marvel of Flight is open to the public and admission is free with a non-perishable food donation to The Matrix Community Outreach Center that provides food, shelter and information to meet the needs of the community.
"Every year we open up the opportunity to support local non-profits," Adams explained. "Matrix is like a hub for local non-profits. We donate to them and they spread it out throughout the region."
Bringing the community to the airport not only gives the opportunity for young boys and girls to consider a career in aviation, but promotes a local business that has been operating since the 1940s.
"We invite the general public to see what's beyond the barbed wire fences," said Adams.
WANT TO GO? Marvel of Flight is April 26 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the DeFuniak Springs Municipal Airport, located at 1931 US HWY. 90 W. The event will kick off with a 5k Color Run, Friday April 25, to register, visit www.facebook.com/RunTheYak5K. For more information, visit www.marvelofflight.com.