A Celebration of Flight

One Saturday when I was a teenager, my parents gathered me and my siblings for a surprise day trip. We ended up at the Lancaster Airport for the Community Days event. I had never seen an airplane up close nor did I have any desire to fly. To be honest, the entire concept was foreign and a little bit frightening. However, the gears in my young mind began turning the moment I saw a chopper take off and then disappear into the skies.

The line for the chopper was a bit long, so we decided to catch a ride aboard one of the Cessnas that was offering short flights over the area. Every time I’ve written about flying with the United States Hot Air Balloon Team or taking a tour with Smoketown Helicopters, the memory of bouncing down the runway at the Lancaster Airport immediately comes to mind and brings a smile to my face. Needless to say, the airport’s Community Days has become one of my favorite events.

Lancaster Airport Community Days will be held August 24-25. While the rain/shine event is free to attend, there is a small per-vehicle fee for parking. Community Days is family-friendly and offers a variety of attractions for both flight enthusiasts and anyone who prefers to keep their feet on the ground.

Not to be missed is the flyby that features planes of all types and sizes zooming past the crowd in the Parade of Planes. A few familiar planes return each year, as do new arrivals. While some of the planes were built for fun, others are historic warplanes that meant serious business in their time. I always seem to find some veteran pilots and enjoy getting swept up by interesting conversations about their aircraft and where they’ve been.

Most of the airplanes and choppers are on display when they aren’t flying. Depending on the aircraft, some of the organizations offer walkthroughs of their larger planes; some even offer short flights for a fee. Such flights provide a great opportunity to experience the beauty of Lancaster County that stretches for miles down below.

Back on the ground, a tasty aroma filters across the grounds of the airport thanks to Lancaster’s favorite food trucks that are on-site throughout the weekend. A few pulled-pork sandwiches were just what my family needed before we started taking in the children’s area. From activities focused on aviation science to burning their last bit of energy in the bounce house, the kids loved all of it – so much so that they wanted to go back on Sunday, which we did.

For more information on Lancaster Airport Community Days, visit LancasterAirport.com.

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