‘This town loves to fly’: Sequim to look to the skies for Labor Day air show
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Capt. Crystal Stout and crew will sail her hot air balloon at this Septemberís Olympic Peninsula Air Affaire, which will be at the Sequim Valley Airport. -- Photo by Joe Smillie/Peninsula Daily News

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM –– The renowned skies above Sequim — the “blue hole,” as pilots call it — will be filled with aeronauts this Labor Day as Sequim Valley Airport hosts the first-ever Olympic Peninsula Air Affaire.

A trio of aviation enthusiasts from the Sequim area is finalizing plans for the two-day “air-stravaganza,” which will mark the 30th anniversary of Sequim Valley Airport, 468 Dorothy Hunt Lane, and Sequim’s 100th anniversary Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.

On tap for the atmospheric bash are antique airplanes, hot air balloons, remote-control aircraft –– even kites, wind socks and pinwheels.

“If it uses air, it’s going to be there,” said Capt. Crystal Stout, Sequim’s premier hot air balloonist.

“It’s just going to be a love-fest for everything that flies.”

Stout added that the group is working on bringing in wing-walkers, skydivers and military aircraft.

“The goal is to set up something that feels just like the Roaring ’20s,” she said.

Stout is the spokeswoman for a trio of local aviation enthusiasts who are planning the Air Affaire: herself, airport President Andy Sallee and Emily Westcott, a longtime area pilot.

The trio has been working on organizing the Air Affaire for several years in preparation for the city’s centennial and the airport’s anniversary, Sallee said.

“It’s a special thing,” Westcott said. “It’s really going to be just so much fun.”

Randall Tomaras, organizer of last year’s Sequim Hot Air Balloon Festival, cited the Air Affaire when he decided last month to cancel the 2013 balloon festival he was planning for the same weekend.

Dozens of balloons were stationed at the airport during last year’s balloon festival, while other vendors and events were staged in a field in east Sequim.

“We had so much fun at the balloon festival last year,” Stout said.

Stout said she has friends who are planning to bring in another couple of balloons for the Air Affaire.

Stout said the group wants the event to have a strong connection to the Sequim community.

“This town loves to fly,” she said. “I’ve met so many people who love planes or fly in planes or draw or photograph planes. There’s a definite love for it here.”

The trio is urging local artists to sign up to feature their flight-themed works.

Stout said organizers also want local cooks to provide food service, local bands to play the music, “and we’re definitely going to need the help of a lot of local volunteers.”

She added that proceeds will help fund her Dreamcatcher Balloon Program, a charity she is forming to help give the disabled a chance to ride in special hot air balloons.

“It’s something to lift their spirits,” she said.

Capt. Crystal will marry Portland couple Misty Collard and Cory Adcox as her hot air balloon lifts into the sky Sunday afternoon.

The pair has been dating for four years. Collard said they met in Las Vegas and then parted ways before later bumping into each other in a Portland elevator.

“And the rest is history,” she said.

They chose Capt. Crystal’s balloon, she said, because of their long-time affinity for the North Olympic Peninsula.

“It’s going to be a beautiful backdrop,” Collard said. “We love the Peninsula, and thought it would be awesome to get married up there.”

For more information, see the Olympic Peninsula Air Affaire Facebook page or www.sequimvalleyairport.com/.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 26. 2013 6:22PM
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