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Perfect Day For Celebrating Flight
Airport Appreciation Day brought out curious community members Saturday, May 5 as everyone enjoyed a windy day among the planes. This family was intrigued by the planes on display at Donnelly Field. - photo by Kim Van Meter/The Leader

When the forecast calls for clear and sunny skies with a light breeze, it is a perfect day for flying.

It was also a perfect day for the Oakdale Airport Appreciation Day open house on Saturday, May 5. The annual event, which has become a community fixture over the past decade, was well attended by folks of all ages and chock full of vintage airplanes, cars and even motorcycles. There were also many booths offering food, aviation themed items and advertising local businesses.

With planes arriving and departing on the nearby runway, attendees strolled among the over three dozen aircraft on display, listening to music and munching on pizza baked in the brick oven set up by Rustic Pizza. There was also a booth promoting the Oakdale Chocolate Festival. The EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) was offering airplane rides for $20 and sponsored a drawing with a radio controlled helicopter as the prize. According to EAA member Ken Scott, the organization “promotes the freedom of flight for those people who build, own and fly airplanes.”

Airport supporter Don Gutridge and Oakdale City Engineer, Dave Myers were on hand to make sure that everyone who attended had a wonderful experience. They both said they were pleased with the event attendance, by the public and the participants, and pointed out that the number of local businesses that had set up booths has expanded over the years. Gutridge said that “we support the local business community” and Myers noted that there are plans to expand the event.

“We’d like to see a chili cook-off added next year as we move to grow and expand the open house,” he said.

Airport Appreciation Day was advertised throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and as far away as San Luis Obispo and Carson City, Nevada.

Oakdale resident and first time attendee, Stan Johnson, was impressed with the collection and variety of the aircraft on display.

“I was impressed most with the ultra-light airplane,” Johnson said.