FORTY FORT — An annual car show brought thousands of area residents to the Wyoming Valley Airport on Sunday for a chance not only to enjoy vintage cars, but food, vendors, airplane rides and even a hot air balloon.
Michael and Ashley Pasquariello, of West Wyoming, came out to the 57th annual Northeastern Pennsylvania Region of the Antique Automobile Club car show with their 2-year-old son, JJ, to enjoy learning about both cars and planes.
“Our son loves both,” said Michael. “So, it was a great chance to come out and spend some family time.”
The family stopped to see a hot air balloon presentation lead by Joe Walsh, owner of the balloon.
Although it was too windy to take the balloon up in the air, attendees of the event enjoyed learning about how hot air balloons work.
“Going up in a hot air balloon is just like sitting on your front porch,” Walsh said. “It gets still and quiet, and you can hear dogs barking and sounds from below.”
Although he’s now living in the Harrisburg area, Walsh has very close ties to the area and the airport.
“I learned to fly here,” he said. “I hung around the airport until I was 17 and old enough to get my license. I grew up here.”
And although Walsh, who has been a licensed hot air balloon pilot for about two years, has taken his balloon to 7,000 feet, he usually doesn’t go quite that high.
“We usually like to stay at around 2,000 feet,” he said.
Mark Plasko was also enjoying interacting with and educating attendees – not about hot air balloons, but about vintage cars.
Displaying a 1926 Model T wrecker, Plasko said the car had been fitted with its wrecking apparatus after he purchased it a few years ago.
“In the old days, they would adapt vehicles to what they needed them to do,” he said. “They built what they needed the car to do.”
Plasko is a relative newcomer to the vintage cars although he is now a regular at car shows around the area.
“I was riding my motorcycle down the road about seven years ago when I saw a Model A and decided to buy it,” he said. “And I went from there.”
Plasko now owns three Model Ts and a Model A.
Sharon Nenichka, president of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Region of the Antique Automobile Club, said the airport has provided the event with the perfect location for the last five years.
“It’s centrally located and easy to find. And there is plenty of parking,” she said. “It’s a prime location.”
Nenichka said she’s always impressed with wide range of people that the event attracts.
“Young and old come out,” she said. “We have people who came out as children, and now they are bring their grandchildren out to the event. It’s a great day to reminisce.”
Nenichka said the event continues to grow with this year seeing about 300 automotive entries.
It also has also grown in the number of people attending, she said, with about 5,000 attendees anticipated for this year.
Joyce Scrobola, of Valley Aviation, said attendees were enjoying brief plane rides which have become part of the fabric of the event since it moved to the airport.
“They get a great view of the valley,” she said. “Some come back year after year. People seem to enjoy the entire event.”
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