SEQUIM — Like for a drive-in movie, organizers for the Olympic Peninsula Air Affaire and Sequim Valley Fly-In encourage visitors to pile in as many people as possible and experience the sights and sounds of Sequim’s airport.
A plethora of planes will soar into Sequim Valley Airport at 468 Dorothy Hunt Lane off Old Olympic Highway on Saturday and Sunday for the show along with hot air balloons, remote control airplanes, cars, trucks and motorcycles.
Cost to attend remains $5 per carload — the price since the annual event began in 2013.
Organizers estimated about 3,000 people visited in 2017 and about 6,000 attended at its busiest a few years ago. Organizers continue to recruit a variety of planes and modes of transportation, but who comes and how many visit mostly depends on the weather each year.
Doug Platten of Port Angeles plans to offer rides each day on a first-come, first-served basis in his 1943 Meyers OTW-160 bi-plane.
Platten said the plane was designed in the late 1930s and 102 were built for the civilian pilot training program.
This summer, he’s been making the rounds at Washington air events and loves to share the joy of his plane with others.
“When you put a 3-year-old in the back seat of a plane for the first time, their eyes just bulge out in excitement,” he said.
If flying high isn’t your thing, Air Affaire organizers offer two scavenger hunts for children 8-and-younger, and 9-and-older where they seek out multiple sights around the airport.
If the page is completed, they can submit them to the information booth for a chance to win gift certificates to Sequim’s Sweet Spot frozen yogurt shop. Along with Platten’s plane and the scavenger hunt, most of the staple experiences return for the event.
Remote controlled airplanes flown by the Sequim R/C Aeronauts and Port Angeles’ Olympic RC Modelers will continue to soar in Sequim in support of Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County.
Barry Johnson with the Sequim R/C Aeronauts said last year they raised about $4,000 through raffle prizes and donations.
This year, pilots with the clubs plan to bring in more stunt fliers and planes including an RC jet, hold a candy drop, and offer hands-on flying for people of all ages with seasoned instructors.
Capt. Crystal Stout with the Dream Catcher Balloon Program will host flights in hot air balloons around 7 a.m. today through Sunday. Before the event, she and another balloon will fly at 7 a.m. and depending on interest a third balloon might come to Sequim, too.
Rides cost $275 per person and 24-hour notice is needed. Contact Stout at 360-601-2433 or e-mail [email protected]
As is traditional, she plans to turn one of her balloons into a bounce house during the Air Affaire and/or offer tethered rides, depending on the weather.
Tethered rides cost $20 with donations supporting the Dream Catcher Balloon Program, which offers flights for mentally and physically impaired people.
Small children can sit on parents/guardians’ laps during tethered rides of 25 to 50 feet, Stout said.
Returning fliers, drivers and singers
The Black Jacks of Arlington plan to fly over the runway three times in formation at about 11 a.m. Saturday. Air Affaire co-organizer Emily Westcott said they were a hit last year as they zoomed over head.
Wing walkers Mike and Marilyn Mason of The West Coast Spin Doctors plan to fly each day of the event at about 1 p.m. in their 1943 Stearman.
The Air Affaire’s car show, branded Year of the Dog returns for its sixth year with 100 vehicles anticipated this Saturday. Registration costs $10 to enter. Awards will be presented at 3 p.m. Children can sit in antique police cars and everyone can listen to music from the 1950s. No awards will be given out Sunday.
To sign up, contact George March at [email protected] or 360-417-0676.
Members of the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 430 will bring out their planes in full force.
Atomic Helicopters will fly both days again offering rides for a fee depending on the number of passengers and the route.
A Kids/Safety Fair will return with various state agencies bringing in vehicles both days, and Boy Scouts hosting a rock climbing wall Sunday.
Jonathan Simonson organized the music for the show with headliners including Bread & Gravy at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, and Locals Only at 2 p.m. Sunday.
The Air Affaire began in 2013 as a joint celebration for the city of Sequim’s centennial and the airport’s 30th anniversary.
For more information, see olympicpeninsulaair affaire.com.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].