Planes, trains and automobiles, with an emphasis on planes, are on tap to be celebrated during the Perry Fly Iowa event Aug. 23 and 24 in Perry.
The best part? It’s nearly all free, including the air show on Saturday. As many as 4,000 spectators are expected for the show that begins at 1 p.m. at the Perry Municipal Airport west of Perry.
Vicki Klein, chairperson of the Fly Iowa Committee, and all the committee members have spent the last few months putting the weekend event together.
"Most everything is in place, now, we are hoping for good weather," she said. The event was brought to Perry by the Iowa Aviation Promotion Group which chooses a different airport each year to host the event. While the aviation group donated some money to the event, getting everything together for the two-day festivities and the air show was all up the Perry committee.
Festivities begin on Friday night with a pilot "meet and greet" session where pilots will visit with the public. Because of the closing of the Hotel Pattee, that reception will be moved to the Town Craft building on Willis. The meet and greet is 5-7 p.m.
The car portion of the event gets underway at 5 p.m. when a classic car show begins on Second Street. Owners of classic cars, a number of classic car clubs and others have an open invitation to bring their classic vehicle for show. Klein noted the show is for fun, and no prizes are awarded. The Fly Iowa Committee is bringing in hand-crank cars for children to ride and drive, which adds some fun for the younger ages. The cars will be running from5-7 p.m.
To fulfill the train portion of the Perry Fly Iowa theme, the Carnegie Library Museum will be open from 4-8 p.m. for visitors to take in the new train exhibit.
Gene Peel, one of the volunteers helping put the event together, said the display includes railroad memorabilia such as railroad timetables, dispatchers’ sheets, collections of newspaper articles discussing railroad issues, railroad lanterns, tools and photographs loaned from Forest Park Museum.
The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24. During that time the Central Iowa Garden Railway Club will be operating a working scale model train layout outside the Carnegie Library Museum. If the weather turns rainy, the exhibit will be moved to the community room in the Perry Public Library.
Also on Saturday, Alex Krueger will be giving a slide presentation of a passenger train trip from Perry to Chicago.
Although not an official part of the Fly Iowa Event, Friday night will culminate with Friday Fest, including a band playing in the evening at Pattee Park.
Saturday, Aug. 24, begins bright and early with a flight breakfast. As many as 100 pilots and planes of all types are expected for the fest, which will be served up by Chris Cakes for the Lion’s Club. The public is welcome at the flight breakfast, where there will be charge for the food.
The flight breakfast is followed by a pilot training class which gives pilots continuing education points, said Bill Shimon, who has been in charge of arranging entertainment for the air show. The public is also allowed to sit in on the class, he said.
The airport will also host a number of aeronautics-related vendors, as well as food vendors. The food vendors will be available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the other vendors from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. At 1 p.m. the air show begins, Shimon said. The order of the air show acts is at the discretion of the air show boss, who is Scott Duck. Duck is an avid pilot and owner of a 1947 Vagabond. He has worked intensely with air shows and special events since 1993. The air boss is the person in charge of the performers and the air show, and it is up to him to make sure the show goes forward safely. His decisions will be made mostly on weather and how the acts should fit together, Shimon said.
"When it comes to bringing performers to Perry for the air show, we wanted a show that was entertaining and captivating. We have put together a really diverse group of pilots and performers that include a wing walker coupled with an aerobatic act, the Vanguard Squadron that flies a four-ship formation; a Tora 101 replica; and a Gunfighter-Midland plane, among others.
Just prior to 1 p.m. the show will kick off with a parachute demonstration that includes an American flag, Shimon said.
He reiterated that anyone watching the show will want to be in the audience area because some of the show takes place on the ground, as well as in the air.
Pilots and performers will be available after the air show for autographs. The public will be able to purchase a $5 commemorative Perry Fly Iowa Magazine at the airport that day. Advertising in the magazine, as well as sales of the magazine help the Perry Fly Iowa committee to pay for the expense of hosting the event.
For safety reason, there will be no parking long Iowa Highway 141.
He urges people to give themselves plenty of time to get to the airport before the show, as well as time to look around at the vendors and the airplanes. People are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or a blanket and sunscreen.