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What is the new flight festival?

Photograph: Soham Parikh/The Guardian
Photograph: Soham Parikh/The Guardian
Photograph: Soham Parikh/The Guardian

Festival of Flight was founded and organized by Wright State and the City of Fairborn and aims to educate attendees and celebrate Dayton’s unique aviation heritage. 

“A lot of Wright state students and even faculty and staff don’t realize that Colonel Glenn is named after John Glenn,” said Greg Scharer, executive director of the Wright State Alumni Association.

Schrarer hopes the festival will educate the Dayton community about how much aviation history surrounds them on an everyday basis. 

“I think it’s easy to grow up here in Dayton and know about the Air Force museum and know that we are the birthplace of the Wright Brothers, because you do see signs around, but I don’t know how many people actually realize how intricate our history is,” said Scharer.

Festival of Flight is not only an educational experience; a huge reason for the event is to celebrate the birthplace of aviation, heritage of flight and the Wright Brothers. 

“It’s no secret that the Dayton community takes great pride in our rich aviation legacy. What this festival will provide is the ability to engage young and old alike in the heritage of aviation as well as STEM aspects of flight,” said Amy Spowart, executive director of the National Aviation Hall of Fame. “Through exhibits, interactives, sport and the arts, our festival will have something for every member of the family.”

Celebrating the Wright Brothers’ achievements is a huge part of this festival, which will be coordinated, in part, by the American Marketing Association at Wright State Chapter. 

According to Kendall Phillip Goodrich, professor and chair of the Marketing Department at Wright State, Wright Brothers Day has been hosted for nine years straight.

Oct. 5 marks the anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ 39-minute flight around Huffman Prairie, which was when practical flight was first recognized, according to Goodrich.

According to Schrarer, the festival almost got pushed to 2020. The planning committee decided to make sure it would be ready for 2019 due to several anniversaries, such as the 100th anniversary of the parachute and the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. 

Previously, Wright State has worked with the city of Fairborn to coordinate and plan other homecoming activities such as the chili cook-off between sports teams. 

This year, Wright State approached the City of Fairborn with an idea to include the entire community instead of just Wright State students, faculty and staff. 

In the past, there have been small-scale events by different organizations but nothing to the extent of what Festival of Flight will be.

“As we approached each entity that was flight-related, we were like ‘why hasn’t anyone done this before?’ I mean we are known for being the birthplace of aviation and flight, why don’t we have something that celebrates that?” said Scharer.

Festival of flight will bring the Dayton community together and show everyone that there is much to be proud of.