Crowds will gather again next Saturday for the Annual Open House and Fly In at St. Louis Regional Airport.
BETHALTO – On Saturday, Sept. 27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., St. Louis Regional Airport will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of its Annual Open House and Fly In.
The event has grown continuously since it was restarted in 1994. Last year, 100 airplanes and more than 300 automobiles from six states were included. This year, a hovercraft and radio-controlled planes will join the festivities.
The car show was added to the event in 2009 and it has quickly become one of the largest shows in the Midwest attracting entries from as far as Tennessee, Iowa and Wisconsin. The Jersey County Street Machine Association coordinates both the show and a swap meet for car enthusiasts. New technology will be showcased as well as antique autos, hot rods, custom cars and motorcycles.
Last year SIUE’s solar race car was on display and this year a hovercraft will be operating on the circle around the F-4 in front of the Airport’s High Flyer’s Grille. The East Side RC Club will show off its radio-controlled model airplanes and helicopters, including a half-scale Edge 540 powered by a 275 cc gasoline engine. There will be demonstrations as allowed by weather and the control tower.
Fly Ins were originally big events in the early days of the airport. In the 1950s Cessna’s largest dealership in the world, Walston Aviation was located at the airport which was called Civic Memorial back then. Walston would display its planes and showcase WWII aircraft.
“This year will be a special one for us as we pay a tribute to Joe Meyer who was instrumental in re-starting the Fly In tradition,” said David Miller, airport manager. “Both Joe and fellow pilot Allen Cassens who also died on Friday, June 13, of this year were active leaders in airport activities.”
Miller says that in honor of Meyer and Cassens, everyone is working “extra-hard” to make this the best event in its history. There are already a number of planes signed up as well as an OH58 Military Helicopter. Pilots are encouraged to do advance registration by calling St. Louis Regional at (618) 259-2531.
Food and drink will be on sale and families are welcome to bring picnic baskets. There will be activities for kids and a multi-national firearms display that will give adults and kids alike a close up view of historical weapons. The Amateur Radio Emergency Service will have a demonstration station on-the-air.
Though the planes and cars will be gone on Sunday, Sept. 28, kids ages 8-17 can return with their parents for free flights sponsored by the EAA Chapter 864 Young Eagles. Youth are encouraged to do advance registration for the free flights Saturday during the Fly In.
Admission and parking are free. Parking is located just off Illinois Route directly in front of the airport. A map and event details are available at www.stlouisregional.com.