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Local News

Joliet Airport Festival offers close-up look at aviation

Aviation enthusiasts gather at the side of the runway to watch Tom Buck of Joliet fly his TBM Avenger at the 2014 Joliet Airport Festival.
Aviation enthusiasts gather at the side of the runway to watch Tom Buck of Joliet fly his TBM Avenger at the 2014 Joliet Airport Festival.

The Joliet Airport Festival on Sunday will offer airplane rides and helicopter rides, and up-close views of aircraft and World War II combat planes for those who just want to look.

The annual event at Joliet Regional Airport attracts about 4,000 people and includes a pancake breakfast, lunchtime food vendors, bounce houses, pedal planes and other attractions for those interested in aviation, or for families interested in a fun Sunday outing.

“It’s been a growing event each year,” airport manager Jennifer McFarland said. “It’s a family fun event with free admission and free parking.”

Airplane rides are $30 a person and helicopter rides are $35 a person.

The prices for rides in the World War II Warbird are higher: $275 for 15 minutes and $450 for 30 minutes.

But there is no charge to view the planes brought out for public interest at the airport, which opened in 1930.

Eighty airplanes are kept at Joliet Regional Airport, which has five hangars and two runways. One runway is paved and the other is grass. Five businesses are located at the airport.

The airport at 4000 W. Jefferson St. is owned and operated by the Joliet Park District.

The Airport Festival runs 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Activities include:

• The pancake breakfast from 8 to 10:30 a.m. at prices of $7 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and younger and seniors;

• A classic car show sponsored by the Coachmen Car Club;

• The World War II Warbird rides for which people are asked to schedule in advance by calling John with Nostalgic Flights at 260-341-8749 or by email at vintageaircraftrides@gmail.com.

For information, visit the Joliet Park District website, jolietpark.org.

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