By CRISTIN REECE
Saturday's clouds didn't keep early visitors away from the Palestine's Municipal Airport's 80th anniversary celebration, as city officials and local pilots collaborated to mark the event held at the local airport.
Area pilots were treated to a meal as they flew into the airport on Saturday and visitors who kept their feet on the ground were treated to a radio controlled airshow, concessions and lots of exhibits of aircraft on display around the facility.
“Very cool,” Palestine resident Ian Nicholson said, with enthusiastic agreement from brother, Aiden Nicholson and sister, Emalyn Nicholson, of the exhibits.
Mom, Stacey Nicholson, added, “We've flown in the big planes before, but we've never been this up close and personal like this before.”
Francisco Espinoza, of Palestine, was visiting the airport on Saturday with his family and the Equia family.
“It's really neat to see all the different kinds of planes,” he said. “It actually sort of inspires me to become a pilot.”
Aracely Ezpinoza added with a laugh, “And it's such a wonderful day for it — not too hot, not raining... yet.”
Event sponsors included the city of Palestine, Texas Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 1549, the Palestine Airport Advisory Board, Palestine Jet Center, Cars of Palestine classic car club and Texas Unlimited Flyers radio controlled aircraft club.
“Everyone did an amazing job,” Palestine Public Works Director Tim Perry said. “There were tons of people behind the curtains that really put forth the extra effort. Many huge thanks to them for doing such an outstanding job.”
The municipal airport was built in 1933 as a potential secondary airport, to support the air force base in Waco, according to city records. Since then, the airport has served its community not only as a hub for air traffic but also as an attractive incentive to businesses looking to build in the area.
“Our airport has been a huge boon for the city of Palestine and Anderson County and continues to be a vital part of this area’s economic development,” Perry said in an earlier interview. “We thought it’d be nice to celebrate that, as the facility marks 80 years.”