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Barnstormers migrate south

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opinion Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd Dispatch
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Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

Wednesday morning, as quickly as they had come, the American Barnstormers Tour turned south for their next stop.  Suddenly, for the first time in three days, the ramp was quiet.  Absent was the roar of those big radial engines. the smell of oil and gas, and the sounds of people having fun.

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Watching these magnificent aircraft disappear I could not help but feel fortunate for having lived in the 1920’s at least for just a few days.  Over those days I was privileged to have met several people who had actually experienced that time, one a former aviator.  With all the beautiful aircraft, antique automobiles, tractor rides, tents, ragtime music, gals in dresses and guys in knickers it seemed like I had entered a time warp to a 1925 county fair.  The smell of popcorn wafted through the air, and more than one rootbeer float mustache was observed.

But alas, as the roar of those radial engines faded to the south, it was back to 2012!  Our community had the same opportunity I had to transport back in time and I am pleased to report that a great many of you took advantage of that.  Crowds at the American Barnstormers Tour far exceeded our expectations.  Many of you had the experience of flying in an open cockpit airplane for the first and maybe only time in your life.  I heard many stories of those experiences, and saw the beaming smiles of those who flew.

We are thankful that our community responded to this event in a way that we can only say was fantastic.  Free community events such as these are great fun for all and make living here great!  

We must also be thankful for those in our community that made this event possible.  From a financial perspective our sponsors and donors stepped up to make this happen.  All of the following people and businesses shouldered that burden proudly:

Dondelinger Chevrolet/Cadillac/Hyundai, Cornerstone Advisors LLC, Bang Printing, Spajl Construction, Maddens on Gull Lake, Franklin Outdoor Advertising, Arnold and JoAnn Johnson, Rick and Steph LeBlanc, Craguns Resort and Hotel, Airmotive Enterprises, Steve and Deb Vitale, Jim and Diane Whiting, SEH Inc., Stern Manufacturing.

Donations of cash, goods and services from the following folks also made this event possible:   O’Neill & Murphy LLP,  John Ward-State Representative, Dr. Jackie McCall-Midwest Family Eye Center, Marv and Rosanne Johnson, Waste Partners, Brainerd International Raceway, Pepsi Cola, C & L Distributing, Anderson Brothers, Wings Cafe, Kinetico, Better Living Concepts, Triangle Oil, Snodeos Snowmobile Club, Culligan, Epic Insurance Agency - John and Sally Ward Agents, Rohlfing, B&L Broadcasting.

Last but not least the “feet on the ground” that worked so hard to make this a safe, fun, event.  Many meetings, planning sessions and “Brainstorming Barnstorming” sessions were attended faithfully by the Barnstormers to Brainerd Organizing Committee.  A great group of volunteers from the airport community, and the community at large worked tirelessly during the event.  Our airport staff went over and above during this event and the professionals from Airmotive Enterprises worked hard to keep these aircraft fueled and in the air.  

  A special thank you goes to the Crow Wing County Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol.  These fine young people and their leadership baked in the sun, kept us all safe and directed both aircraft and vehicular traffic.  They made a very hard job look easy without any complaining, and responded to every request with a “Yes Sir.”  I am pleased to report that the Barnstormers were able to get each and every cadet into the air during the daily “Parade of Flight”.  We are so very proud of them!

I am sure that we probably missed someone and for that I apologize, I hope you understand.

We hope that you enjoyed visiting your airport, and this chance to visit the 1920’s.  Thank you for coming out!

Mike Petersen is the spokesman for Barnstormers to Brainerd Organizing Committee.

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