Rotarians plan Airport Fun Day to raise funds for swim program

Kids of all ages love airplanes, but sometimes the crowds at big air shows are just a little daunting. The Airport Family Fun Day is the perfect solution: Airplanes on the ground to inspect and rides into the sky, either in a bi-plane, helicopter, or in a tethered balloon, provide a bonus seldom offered elsewhere.

Presented by The Rotary Club of Hobe Sound/Port Salerno and Galaxy Aviation, the free event will start at 10am on Saturday, April 16, at the Stuart Witham Field Airport off A1A in Stuart. Parking will cost $5 per car, and there’s a fee for the rides, but there’s lot of other activities that won’t cost a dime, including an antique car show, a rock-climbing wall, face painting, a bounce house, and much more that will appeal to the whole family, organizers say.

And there’s going to be food vendors on site to feed hordes of hungry visitors, so there’s no need to pack a lunch if you want to spend the day. “One of our most-fun activities is the ‘best card’ five-airport fly-in,” says club President Doc Buchanan, and when asked what that means, he replies almost in a whisper: “That’s a poker hand. You fly to five airports in a bi-plane to pick up a card and whoever winds up with the best hand wins.”

And why is he whispering? “Well, some people don’t like poker,” he says with a grin. But it’s only one poker hand, and the proceeds from the tickets sold for the fly-in—along with the tickets for other sky-high rides—will go to Rotary’s many community service projects, including the “Josh the Baby Otter” program.
The innovative swim program was developed by a Rotarian who lost his own child to a drowning accident and teaches very young children how to float. Rotarians have presented the program, along with books, to hundreds of Martin County children.

At the airport festival, several “learn-to-swim” scholarships will be awarded to lucky participants, and perhaps even an appearance by “Josh” is planned.
For a few hours during the day, the events will be covered by a live radio broadcast by Channel 101.3FM radio. “We still have some spots available for business sponsors,” adds Buchanan. “They’ll get lots of exposure with their booths and the radio broadcast, but time’s running out. They can still call me, though.”

That all-important number is 772.834.5674, or you may call Rotarian Steve Landwersiek, chairman of the event, at 772-263-3471. If you would like to register for the Best Hand Fly-in, call Doc, who said to let you know that prizes will be awarded to the winner.

You can feel good about participating by knowing that, in addition to the safe-swim program, other community projects include painting classrooms at Dunbar School and partnering with the Hobe Sound Chamber of Commerce for beach clean-up and to assist with the annual Arts Festival.

The Rotary Club also provides dictionaries are given to every third-grader in the local area. Another new initiative is to present a copy of the US Constitution to every local fifth grader.

All of these local initiatives are in addition to Rotary’s international projects, which include the worldwide eradication of polio, the international disaster relief, and the Rotary Exchange Student program.

The Rotary Club of Hobe Sound/Port Salerno meets at the Tree House restaurant at the Heritage Ridge Golf Club, 6510 S.E. Heritage Ridge Blvd., in Hobe Sound each Friday at 7:15am.