July 13, 2022

FLIGHT FEST returns Aug. 6

Jon Robinson

— By Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice

Nothing signals possibility like the return of Chatham-Kent’s annual aviation event.

This year’s “Hope is in the Air” FLIGHT FEST will take place at the Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport on Aug 6.

The free day-long celebration is a joint effort between Flight 203 Inc., the local chapter of Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA), and Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport management.

Tim Schinkel, vice-president of the Flight 203 COPA chapter, said organizers are happy the popular event is about to return.

“We are absolutely delighted to share our spectacular aviation event,” Schinkel said.

“We want the whole family to join in,” he explained, adding there’s “something for everybody,” at FLIGHT FEST.

Schinkel said the theme for this year’s FLIGHT FEST came out of the idea of offering hope to citizens and businesses negatively impacted by shutdowns and restrictions during the pandemic.

“Many have been devastated,” Schinkel said, noting everyone can use a “glimmer of hope.”

A full slate of activities are on tap for “Hope is in the Air,” including a number of static aircraft displays, followed by an evening of music with a feature performance by Merlin native Michelle Wright.

Unique vintage biplanes, an aerobatic helicopter, world-renowned warbirds and jets of yesteryear will be on hand for public viewing.

Along with the displays, multiple aircraft will be arriving and departing throughout the day. Schinkel said an invite has been issued to residents in Lambton, Essex and Middlesex counties to allow them to see aircraft up close and speak to the aviators who fly them.

An opening ceremony at 10 a.m. will kick off FLIGHT FEST, with festivities and displays running until 4 p.m.

Other activities such as face painting will be offered, as well as a barbecue.

Christian musician Dan Bremnes will take to the stage at 5 p.m, followed by Eagles tribute band Hotel California at 6:30 p.m. and Michelle Wright at 8:30 p.m.

Although not directly connected to the festival, Sunday will feature an outdoor praise service that will include music.

There’s an added bonus for those who pre-register for the free event with the winner of a draw claiming a free scenic flight.

Key corporate sponsors include Waste Connections of Canada, Engie, COPA YCK 201, Schinkels Legacy, TekSavvy, JM Controls, Clarke Construction, Apollo Property Management, DAJCOR, Maple City Homes as well as several other local businesses.

Organizers will be collecting donations on behalf of charities chosen by the group. To date, “Hope is in the Air” is supporting UCB Canada, Hope Air and the Mission Aviation Fellowship of Canada.

To pre-register access www.flightfest.ca online.

(Photo: Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport, Facebook)