GEORGETOWN — Wings & Wheels, the Greater Georgetown Chamber of Commerce’s fall festival that provides attractions on land and in the air, is giving patrons a chance to take flight in a warbird.
Through partnership with the Capital Wing of the Commemorative Air Force, a new warbird showcase will augment the Oct. 2 extravaganza at Delaware Coastal Airport.
Wings & Wheels also will feature a huge car show, World War II reenactors, music and entertainment, demonstrations, a food court and craft vendors.
The warbirds — a Fairchild F24 Forwarder, a Boeing PT-17 Stearman, a Stinson L-5 Sentinel, a Cessna O-1 Bird Dog and an Aeronca L-16 — represent three wars: WWII, Korea and Vietnam. They will join “Panchito,” the WWII North American B-25 bomber that has been a staple of Wings & Wheels.
Each aircraft represents a mission conducted in its respective war, such as combat/aerial bombing, liaison and flight training.
“All the planes in the showcase are offering rides,” said Linda Price, chair of the Wings & Wheels Committee and the Georgetown chamber’s president/executive director.
“Part of the mission of both the Delaware Aviation Museum Foundation and the Capital Wing of the CAF is to keep our military aviation history alive to educate and inspire each succeeding generation and honor those who have served,” said Ms. Price, who doubles as community relations director for the foundation, a nonprofit based at the airport in Georgetown.
“Some of the ways this mission is accomplished are through scholarships, internships, flight training and public awareness programs,” she said.
Also, making its Wings & Wheels debut is the Delaware Air National Guard, which will have a C-130 and a Blackhawk helicopter on static display. “We’re really excited about that,” Ms. Price said.
Canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, this year’s 13th edition of Wings & Wheels will be shorter than those in the past. It will be a one-day, free extravaganza, running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 2.
“We are not doing any Friday events, not this year anyway,” said Ms. Price. “So next year, we’ll go back at it, with our Aviation Education Day, our Friday night event, and it will be bigger and better than ever.”
Additionally, some staging areas have been moved due to construction at the airport.
Change in parking
A noticeable change this year is parking. With parking not allowed at Sussex Academy, spectators have three options, all on Railroad Avenue — at the former Waste Management location, at the Richard Allen School and at the soccer field outside the airport.
As in the past, parking costs $5.
“We will have trams running from each location and people at each location to guide people. There will be signage to prevent people from going to Sussex Academy,” said Ms. Price.
Closures for Airport Road and a portion of Railroad Avenue will begin at 9 a.m. Signage will be located along U.S. 113 and U.S. 9, alerting motorists to the closings.
Back by popular demand
Returning to the event will be the U.S. Naval Academy Parachute Team, which will perform precision jumps starting at the 10 a.m. opening ceremonies and periodically throughout the day. USNA parachutists will also be interacting with attendees and giving demonstrations on parachute packing.
Pilots of aircraft will engage in a round of fun-filled flour bombing at 2 p.m.
And returning after several years is J&J Shop Heliair, which will offer helicopter rides for a fee.
The military component of Wings & Wheels is a partnership of the Delaware Military Heritage Museum and the Harbor Defenses of the Delaware Living History Association.
HDDLHA will demonstrate life as it was during WWII, with approximately five vehicles, two tents and a display that will be somewhat smaller than past W&W events due to airport construction.
Exhibits, to be located between two hangars on the west side of the airport, will include information on German U-boats and plotting for Delaware’s Fort Miles, according to HDDLHA spokesman Dr. Donald Hattier.
Organizers are anticipating a huge turnout for the car show, again being coordinated by the Historical Vintage Car Club of Delaware.
“They came onboard in 2019 for the first time, and they elevated our car show with the people that came out,” Ms. Price said.
The car count for Wings & Wheels 2019 was 297 vehicles, and this year, expectations are that it could approach 400, she added.
On stage from noon to 4 p.m. will be Stayin Frosty, an acoustic duo specializing in classic rock, ’60s and ’70s music and beach tunes.
Tentative plans are for food vendors to be in two locations, unless construction has not begun in the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center parking lot.
The main sponsors of Wings & Wheels 2021 are Ford and A.P. Croll & Son Inc., which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, said Ms. Price, who added that the organizers are still seeking volunteers and sponsors.
A survey by Southern Delaware Tourism will be offered to guests as they leave. All surveys returned will be put into a drawing for a free plane ride at a later date.
So after two years, all systems are go for W&W 2021.
“We are set to fly,” said Ms. Price.