Father’s Day Flair
Children were the focus of this year's Planes, Trains and Automobiles event, as they were seen flying at Vinland, riding the train or reading essays downtown.
The third-annual event brought many children to Baldwin City. On Saturday morning, Vinland Airport was offering free airplane rides for children ages eight to 17. This was a big hit, according to Rita Madl, co-organizer of the event.
"I heard many moving stories from parents about their children flying down at Vinland," Madl said. "They would fly down there and then come downtown and tell us about it. It was nice to hear those stories."
After riding the airplanes, many of the children came downtown to read their Father's Day essays. The essays were a new contest this year.
A total of 20 children wrote essays about their fathers for the event. Then all 20 of them read their work aloud to everyone downtown.
"The Father's Day essays made everybody cry," Madl said. "The kids read their essays to their fathers, who sat in a chair with them on stage. I was amazed at what great pronunciators and readers we had up there."
Madl also said everyone involved in the contest received a prize for their essay.
"We had essays that could not possibly be measured in a competitive manner," Madl said.
Stan Vickers, co-organizer of the event, thought the children's activities helped the event.
"Anytime you bring children to something new, it will benefit them and their parents," Vickers said. "The children really had a fun time with the airplane rides and essays, along with the motorcycles and cars."
The third-annual event began early Saturday morning with the vintage motorcycle and automobile shows downtown. The downtown area was busy all day with people coming and going.
Ken Myers came from Gas, two miles east of Iola, to see the event for the first time and enjoyed his time here.
"I just enjoy the shows," Myers said. "Nothing really sticks out in my mind, but it was good. I'm pretty easy to please."
Madl said the long day wore her out.
"I am still trying to recoup from this weekend," Madl said. "Everybody wants to be in Baldwin City. I counted about 1,000 people when I had time to count Saturday."
Vickers said the event is becoming larger each year.
"It is a growing and expanding event," Vickers said. "The weather was great and the rain held off for most of the time."
Madl said the weather forecast called for rain Saturday, which caused some car and motorcycle owners not to attend. She said the numbers of entries were about the same as last year, but more people attended the event this year.
There were 79 vintage motorcycles at the show, along with 350-400 riders. One of those bikes was a rare Vincent motorcycle. It is only one of 100 that were ever made, according to Vickers.
In the afternoon, the musical bands took over the stage at Seventh and High streets. All three bands played during the day, despite a short rain shower late in the day.
"We had lots of parents and children listening to the music," Madl said. "Even after the rain, we had about 70 people sitting around listening to the last band. We didn't have the street dance, but we did cheer."
One goal for the event organizers was to promote the downtown businesses in Baldwin. Many of the businesses were open Saturday and many of them saw lots of visitors.
"All of our downtown stores were full and that was one of our goals," Madl said. "It was a great quality of life promotion for the community."
Vickers wanted to thank everyone that helped make the event a success this year.
"I would like to thank everybody that made this event possible," Vickers said. "I especially want to thank Susan Baker, the city of Baldwin City, the police department, the sponsors, board members and everyone else that contributed anything to the event."
Myers had a suggestion for next year's celebration.
"I would like to see more advertisement before the event," Myers said. "I only heard about it a couple days before."
Madl said next year's event should be even bigger and better than this year's. She said Embarq wants to help sponsor the event and fill the downtown stores.
She also said the Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce is organizing a committee for the annual event. If anyone is interested in joining the committee or has ideas for the event, they should contact the chamber of commerce.