In the shadow of Boeing Airfield, due north as the crow flies, is a local municipal airport that annually holds the third largest airshow and fly-in in the nation. Arlington Municipal Airport (AWO) began as a military airstrip during WWII and was later deeded to the city of Arlington in 1958 from the federal government. But it was in 1968, following the summer of love that a new tradition was born. What began as a grassroots, word of mouth, and uninformed gathering of like-minded connoisseurs has grown up in its 49 years to become a beloved yearly event in Arlington, as well as across Snohomish County and the state of Washington. It has won the reputation of the West Coast Premier Renovation Aviation event. During the three days in early July, some 1500 airplanes will fly in, be it for the day or the whole weekend. It is not unusual to see pilots and their families camped under the wing of a plane.
Barb Tolbert, the current mayor of Arlington, grew up working at the fly-in every summer. It was her father’s vision, admiration, and grit that kept the airshow in Arlington preserving its appeal of “the country fair with airplanes.” Tolbert still works the fly-in, ensuring everyone involved enjoys a smooth ride.
From antiques to ultralights, there is something for everyone at this aviation event. Whether you are a novice or an experienced professional pilot, you will find your niche. Enjoy picturesque views in an airplane ride, or purchase an airplane to take home. Family friendly and multi-generational for kids of all ages, catch one of the daily air shows or take a romantic hot air balloon ride into the evening setting sun. Listen to the musical entertainment while you shop the many vendor booths, and at dark, kick back, relax, and watch an outdoor movie on the tarmac of The Runway Theatre. Popcorn is available.
New this year to the fly-in, you will find an exhibit on drones and modern aviation technology, including a flight simulator for those that prefer keeping their feet on the ground. Ever desire to build your own airplane or restore a vintage relic from an era gone by? The fly-in hosts several DIY sessions and learn from an expert. Maybe warbirds are right up your alley. Come visit the fly-in’s full military camp, Camp Adams, equipped with tanks, canons, bunk houses, and mess hall.
The airshow runs July 7, 8, and 9 and is $15 for an adult ticket with youth 15 and under admitted free. Check the website http://www.arlingtonflyin.org/ for further details on camping and event schedule.
See you in the friendly skies!
Written by MaryRose Denton