May 11, 2016 Edition

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Josie Bounds (left) and her big sister, Irissa, of Walnut Ridge look in at the cockpit of one of the planes that lined the apron at the Walnut Ridge Regional Airport Saturday during the 18th annual Walnut Ridge Army Air Field Reunion. This year also marked the first Wings of Honor Festival, which included performances by local dance groups, organizations and musicians.
TD Photo ~ Megan Heyl

Reunion, festival draw
many to airport, museum

Gretchen Hunt

The 18th annual Walnut Ridge Army Airfield Reunion was held Friday and Saturday at the Wings of Honor Museum. A new addition this year was the Wings of Honor Festival, held on Saturday in conjunction with the reunion.

Harold Johnson, president of the Wings of Honor Museum Board, expressed his appreciation to the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce for partnering with the museum to plan the festival.

"I want to extend a special thanks to the Chamber of Commerce for planning, producing and securing vendors and performers for the Wings of Honor Festival," Johnson said. "We especially appreciate J.R. Rogers for providing and setting up the portable stage and sound system and Mark Davis with PartyTime Productions for providing deejay and emcee services throughout the day."

Johnson also expressed appreciation to Mike McLeod, J.R Rogers, Mark Fender, Jeff Taylor, Ben Brand and Lori Dial for their musical performances during the festival, as well as Dale Hughart and Brent Powell who performed at the reunion dinner and salute to veterans.

"Thanks to all volunteers, vendors and performers and to the merchants who donated items for the silent auction," Johnson continued. "Thanks also, to Cavenaugh Auto Group and Farm Service for supporting the Airfield Reunion."

Johnson said the purpose of adding the festival was to draw more from the community out to honor the veterans and remember the significance of Walnut Ridge's contribution to World War II.

"We estimate that about 150 people came through the museum on Friday, including about 80 at the Friday evening dinner," he said. "An estimated 300 visited the museum on Saturday."

In addition, the fly-in held in conjunction with the reunion had about 64 airplanes fly in on Saturday, an increase of about 12 over last year. He expressed appreciation to Mark Crabtree who helped promote the event in the aviation community, including securing the Bulldog Flight Formation Team to do a performance as part of the opening ceremonies on Saturday.

"The museum board was very pleased with the event," Johnson said.

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