McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

May 2, 2014

High in the Sky: AFD continues Saturday with parade, fly-in, movie

McALESTER — Blue skies and high hopes are in play for the Armed Forces Day Parade, Fly-In and Family Fun Day set for Saturday as part of AFD activities in McAlester.

Activities began today with the AFD Luncheon at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant featuring Commander Pete Nilsen, with a full slate of activities also set for Saturday.

Weekend AFD activities are set to start with the downtown parade at 10 a.m.

That’s followed by the fly-in, set to begin soon after the parade, usually around noon, at McAlester Regional Airport.

Capping the day is a family fun day set to begin at 5 p.m. in Chadick Park, with activities including the resumption of Movies in the Park, with a free showing of the movie “Planes” to begin at dusk.

Approximately 40 entries were in place earlier this week for the downtown parade, with the possibility of a few more entries before Saturday. Participants range from marching bands to military outfits, with lots of others in- between.

Parade and fly-in organizers were also glad the forecast for clear weather has held for this weekend. Forecasters with the National Weather Service in Tulsa predicted sunny skies for McAlester on Saturday, with a high of 84 degrees and a south wind of from five to 10 mph.

That’s an especially fine forecast as far as  those planning the fly-in were concerned, since a number of aircraft and two different skydiving teams were expected to take to the skies Saturday as part of Armed Forces Day

Plans call for the parade to begin on A Street, turn east and proceed down Carl Albert Parkway, turn south, then head back west on Choctaw Avenue to the Choctaw Avenue parking lot.

Those planning the fly-in have invited those who had floats in the parade to bring the floats on to the airport, where they can be parked for display.

In addition, many of the planes set for the fly-in plan to fly over the AFD parade route, organizers said. Following the parade, activities move to the airport.

“We have put together a fly-in with something for everybody,” said Jeff Wolf, the AFD Committee member leading the fly-in preparations.

Wolf said there should be around 15 aircraft at the fly-in, as well as two parachute teams, the Cherokee Skydivers and the World War II Airborne Demonstration Team.

The Cherokee Skydivers include Roger Wolf and Mel Tilly.

Tilly plans to skydive holding the American flag, while Roger Wolf will carry the POW/MIA flag, Jeff Wolf said.

Aircraft include the Boogie Baby transport plane from World War II, along with a P-51 fighter plane, also from the World War II era, flown by Ike Enns. Training plans from the U.S., Canada and Russia are also expected.

In addition, plans call for free pony rides and inflatables for the children; along with free hot dogs, chips water, Coke and Pepsi products, according to Jeff Wolf.

He said that those attending the fly-in at the airport should park in the parking lot at the nearby Choctaw Casino, where shuttle buses will be continually running back and forth between the airport and the casino parking lot.

Back at McAlester’s Chadick Park, a number of activities will be available beginning at 5 p.m., prior to the showing of the movie “Planes” at dusk.

Along with inflatables, activities include an eating contest, a silent auction and other activities sponsored by city of McAlester employees to benefit Hope House.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

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