By Linda Titel
The 34th Annual Shiocton Fly-In runs July 20 – 21 hosted by the Shiocton Flyers Club.
This tradition started in 1984 when 20 area people came together and saw the need for an airport in Shiocton. They pooled their money together to purchase land and then formed the Shiocton Flyers Club, Inc. which currently has 40 members, ages 16 – 88 and covers about 40 acres.
In 1985 the Flyers Club hosted their first Fly-In.
Secretary of the Flyers Club Brian Laedkte said, “After we purchased the land and had an airport the next step was to have a Fly-In, to bring the public in, families and kids, to get up close to the planes, observe them and offer rides.”
Laedtke said there are 12 personally owned planes on the property.
“When we first started the airport we had no facilities on the property so the proceeds of the Fly-Ins have helped fund the airplane hangars,” said Laedkte. They also use the proceeds for their mowers, maintenance and taxes. “We tore down the Port Lite bar and someday would like to add a pavilion in that area,” said Laedkte.
“This spring has been the worst I have ever seen as far as the weather goes, we have three runways, two parallel ones, north and south and one, east and west, however one of the north and south runways is not usable since all the rainfall, it’s impossible to mow the grass without getting stuck.” He said, currently, even the other two runways are still water logged, he compared it to walking in a bog. He said in 1979 they also had a lot of rain but this year was worse because the water didn’t get so high or stay so long.
The Fly-In is always affected by the weather, if it rains there will be no plane rides offered, but like years in the past the show still goes on. There are plenty of other things to do and see at the Fly-In. New this year is a small craft show, along with food, drinks, raffles, live music and a bouncy house for the kids. The raffle consists of $14,000 in prizes and $11,000 in cash.
If the weather does cooperate they will offer the plane rides, $10 for kids and $20 for adults. The planes can typically take three passengers and children can fly alone or with a parent.
The Theda Star is planned to make a showing on Sunday, weather permitting.
The Flyers Club also offers flying lessons and scholarships to Shiocton, Seymour, New London and Hortonville students. This year’s recipient was Brice Richardson from Hortonville High School. Richardson is attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the fall for Engineering Mechanics and Astronautics.
The Shiocton Flyers Club also sponsor a Fly-In Appreciation Banquet for all the participants in donations, prizes, money and talent that helped make the Annual Fly-In a success. This years banquet is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 18, from 3 – 7 p.m.
Laedkte said, “It’s a great event to come to, rain or shine everyone has a good time and we [Shiocton Flyers Club] have fun every year sponsoring it.”