Discover Sawyer Family Fun Day is Sunday

The Valley Med Helicopter at a previous Discover Sawyer Family Fun Day. The helicopter will be present at this year’s event for attendees to view. (Photos courtesy of Sawyer International Airport)

MARQUETTE — For those who are looking for a thrilling aircraft experience, a chance to experience the local airport, or just do something a little different to this weekend, look no further than the fifth annual Discover Sawyer Family Fun Day, a free, family-friendly event to be will be held 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at Sawyer International Airport.

“Come on out to the airport and see what we have to offer,” Sawyer International Airport Manager Duane DuRay said, noting that he feels it’s important for the public to have an opportunity to experience a piece of the airport.

Free flights for kids, skydiving, a kid zone, food and craft vendors, aircraft displays and more will be featured at the airport, near building 600 at 603 Third St., Sunday.

“This is just a day to come out and enjoy your airport,” DuRay said.

For youth ages 8 to 17 who wish to experience the joys of aviation firsthand, free Young Eagle Flights will be offered by the Lake Superior Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 850.

Taking one of these flights is not only a fun and thrilling experience, but can also inspire a lifelong passion for aviation, DuRay said.

“The goal of this introductory flight with the EAA chapter is to spark interest in aviation with these young children,” DuRay said, noting that EAA members are volunteering their private aircrafts and time to give area youth an opportunity to fly with them.

The flights can even inspire youth to become interested in an aviation-related career, DuRay said.

“A handful of these young people will go on to seek aviation careers, whether it be working at an airport, working on airplanes (or) piloting an aircraft,” he said.

DuRay encourages parties who interested in a Young Eagles Flight to arrive early, as the flights are typically quite popular.

“We recommend people come early to register,” he said. “The sooner the better, because there’s probably going to be a significant number of kids signing up.”

For adults who wish to experience one of the “ultimate thrill rides,” tandem skydiving will be offered all day Sunday, with pre-registration required, DuRay said.

“It’s a group out of Harbor Springs (offering skydiving),” he said. “They’ve been coming up here for the last three years now and they have done an absolutely fabulous job, every time they come, they book solid and they jump all day long,” he said.

Skydivers will jump from 10,000 feet out of a single-engine Cessna high-wing plane — prior skydiving experience isn’t needed, as participants will be connected by harness to an experienced skydiver who will safely guide them through the entire jump.

The experience is sure to be “unforgettable”, DuRay said.

“(People) leave so very pumped up, they are so excited about what they just did,” he said.

For those who are interested in taking the dive,

DuRay advises calling the skydiving agency at 231-242-8822 to register and get information on current rates and availability as soon as possible, as spots can fill quickly.

“Historically, we’ve sold out every time,” he said.

However, there will be more skydiving offered at Sawyer International Airport in the near future, DuRay said, as the group will be returning to the area Aug. 24.

For more information on skydiving, visit http://www.skydiveharborsprings.com or call 231-242-8822.

Beyond thrilling aviation and skydiving experiences, the Discover Sawyer Family Fun Day offers a multitude of other activities for attendees.

“You don’t have to be interested in aviation to come to this,” DuRay said.

The event will offer a kid zone, featuring a variety of activities aimed at children and families, DuRay said, noting “we’re getting a couple bounce houses through Double Trouble DJs.”

A wide array of vendors will also be present, offering crafts and other items for attendees to browse and purchase. For those who are interested in becoming vendors, email discoversawyer@gmail.com for registration or more information.

For those looking to enjoy a meal, breakfast and lunch will be available.

The Pancakes for a Purpose pancake breakfast will be held from 9 a.m. to noon.

The cost per plate will be $7 and the proceeds from pancake breakfast will benefit a young local girl, Sookie, who has a rare genetic disorder that causes an array of medical issues.

A lunch vendor will also be on-site from noon to 3 p.m., DuRay said.

DuRay says he has many to thank for their help and hard work preparing for and supporting the Discover Sawyer Family Fun Day.

“(We have a) core group of volunteers that have been absolutely fabulous,” he said, noting people are still welcome and encouraged to sign up as volunteers for the event.

He also extends his thanks to Double Trouble DJs for their contribution to the event.

“Every year, they’ve given us very good deals for the cost of bounce houses … they just do it more as a public service and I want to thank them personally for that,” he said.

Overall, DuRay says the Discover Sawyer Family Fun Day is a great opportunity for the whole community to come out and enjoy the airport.

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/DiscoverSawyer or https://discoversawyer.weebly.com.

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. Her email address is cbrown@miningjournal.net.