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Wings and Wheels soars to Houlton Aug. 10

HOULTON, Maine — The seventh annual Wings and Wheels fly-in/cruise-in returns Saturday, Aug. 10, at Houlton’s International Airport.

As with all outdoor events, the fly-in/cruise-in is at the mercy of the weather, but if recent years are the norm, all signs should point to another successful event. Sponsored by the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce, there are a few changes to this year’s activities.

The idea for a “fly-in” formed when Chamber Director Jane Torres, former Town Manager Eugene Conlogue, and former Economic and Community Development Director Lori Weston were brainstorming new ideas to draw people to town.

“The closer it gets, the more excited I am for it,” Torres said. “It truly is a wonderful, family fun day that also supports the airport. I have a feeling we will have quite a few people flying into the airport this year.”

Houlton’s International Airport is filled with a rich historical past. Torres said many people can still recall the days when the airport was used by the United States Air Force as a camp for German prisoners of war. At one time, there were 4,000 people at the Air Force base and planes were towed across the border to Canada to aid the war effort.

To commemorate that history, Leigh Cummings of the Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum will conduct tours of key spots in the Industrial Park.

Skydiving, one of the most popular draws at the fly-in, has been canceled this year, due to low pre-registrations, Torres said. In addition, air shows will not be returning again this year. While a popular draw, the shows proved to be too expensive for organizers to continue because of the high cost of insurance and the fact that weather plays a major role in the ability of a stunt plane to perform.

The Maine Forestry Service will be on hand with helicopter demonstrations and Acadia Air Tours will offer helicopter rides.

Admission to the event is $6 for those 16 and older; $3 for youths ages 6-15; and children 5 and younger are free. Admission includes a free breakfast 7-9 a.m. The band Rock Renaissance performs a concert at 11 a.m. For information, call the Chamber office at 532-4216.

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