Wings and wheels, pancakes and burgers
Airplanes, show cars and two separate meals await people at the Prineville Airport's Open House Fly-In and Car Show this Saturday.
The event, organized this year by the Lions Club of Prineville, is intended to showcase the airport to the community and raise funds and awareness of a few different local groups. The event kicks off at the airport at 8 a.m., when Prineville's Experimental Aircraft Association offers its pancake breakfast. The breakfast will conclude at 10 a.m., and about an hour later, the Lions Club will offer its hot dog lunch, which will go until 2 p.m., when the Fly-In concludes. Cost of the breakfast is $5 and the lunch is $7.
Airport Manager Kelly Coffelt said the Fly-In, now in its sixth year at the airport, serves as the primary attraction at the local facility. While the airport also hosts a fly-in and pancake breakfast during Father's Day weekend each year, he said it is considerably smaller.
"This (upcoming Fly-In) is more open to everybody and showing things off quite a bit more," he said.
People who visit the event can not only check out the airport itself, but view a host of different aircraft, much of it owned by locals.
"We typically have a pretty good mix of aircraft from newer stuff to a lot of antique aircraft," Coffelt said. "Usually every year, we have some type of firefighting equipment, and this year, the single engine air tankers are here. They are contracted with the Oregon Department of Forestry. People are welcome to look at those."
The event may also feature some helicopter used to fight wildfires, but Coffelt said they won't know until the day of the event whether the aircraft will appear or not.
In addition, the Crook County Rodders will once again bring a collection of show cars to the event.
Coffelt launched the Fly-In to bring more attention to the airport and invite more people in the community to check it out and find out what the facility has to offer. The event has grown over the years, averaging roughly 500 visitors, an event size Coffelt is comfortable to maintain but no increase.
He explained that if the event were to grow much larger, it would become more of an air show. "That is where you have aerobatics and more in-the-air activities. We don't have any funding for something like that. We would end up having to charge people, and we don't want to do that. We want to keep it more small-town."
And so far, the small-town nature of the event has been a hit with the community.
"It has gone fantastic," Coffelt said of prior Fly-Ins. "A lot of people have shown up who have lived in Prineville for years but had never been to the airport."
He went on to note that the event brings lots of children to the airport, and it has become a good event to help support the Lions and their eyeglasses program.
"I think that is really important," he said.
Coffelt hopes to see more of the same this weekend and encourages people to come to the event and stay for a little while or the entire event if they like.
"We have been able to do a lot at the airport, and the only way to do that is through community support," he said, "and I want to make sure the community has plenty of opportunities to come up and ask questions and see what it's all about."