Fly-In called ‘good family event’ with ‘great atmosphere’

Published 6:11 pm Saturday, April 1, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Competing events led to fewer airplanes and fewer spectators, but the Fly-In drew a crowd and kept the Natchez-Adams County Airport staff and volunteers busy throughout the day Saturday.

Forty-four aircraft flew in to the Natchez airport for the Fly-In, which was competing with the Sun ’n’ Fun Aerospace Expo in Lakeland, Florida, which draws more than 200,000 visitors annually and is considered Florida’s largest annual convention of any kind, according to the event’s website.

The threat earlier this week of bad weather on Saturday also could have kept some airplanes and their pilots away, but the day turned out to be a beautiful one.

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At the Natchez-Adams County Airport’s last fly-in in March 2021, aviation enthusiasts here welcomed 125 aircraft.

Other events in Natchez this weekend, like the Natchez Merry Market at the city’s convention center and numerous activities downtown associated with the Downtown Natchez Alliance’s Spring Open Houses, which continue on Sunday, also kept Miss-Lou residents busy.

Nonetheless, spectators seemed to enjoy getting up close and personal with the airplanes on the tarmac and watching them take off and land at the airport.

Richard Nelson said airport staffers and volunteers got a number of thing right this year that they were criticized for in 2021, “like the food.” This year, food and drink offerings were plentiful.

Lynn Smith of Natchez took her granddaughter, Anna Emfinger, 12, to the Fly-In at about noon. She said they enjoyed the event.

“The parking lot was full. I’ll bet there were 150 people there,” Smith said. “It was a gorgeous day. I just thought it was a good family event. The neatest thing was getting to park and ride the flat bed truck with all the hay bales on it to the gate. We enjoyed that. A lot of people took advantage of that. It was a great atmosphere there.”

Nelson thanked his staff and volunteers for the hard work they have done to make this year’s fly-in a success.