The Dulles Day Festival and Plane Pull at Washington Dulles International Airport is expected to attract thousands of visitors for the airport’s annual free open house with a daylong schedule of activities, events and family fun on Saturday, September 17. This year’s event will feature nearly 100 teams from the community pulling two jet aircraft in a friendly competition that originated at Dulles more than 20 years ago.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority works to make this community event better and more engaging for all visitors each year. Views of nearby runways and taxiways provide a unique backdrop for families, aviation enthusiasts and future flyers to discover Dulles and all it has to offer while enjoying food, entertainment and activities that benefit charity.
Last year’s event raised more than $300,000 for Special Olympics Virginia and attracted about 15,000 visitors to Dulles International.
5K/10K Runway Run from 7:30 – 9:30 a.m. (for registered participants only)
Dulles Day will begin with a Run on the Runway for registered participants at 7:30 a.m., without any impacts on passenger flights at the airport. About 2,500 runners will gather behind the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center, located off Route 28 via the Air & Space Museum Parkway exit. The course will take runners onto Dulles Runway 1-Right and past a widebody United Airlines aircraft as a picturesque backdrop.
Dulles Day Festival and Plane Pull from 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. (public open house)
The Dulles Day Festival and Plane Pull will double the fun of past year’s events with two planes being pulled. Nearly 100 teams from companies and community organizations are expected to compete to be the fastest at pulling a full-size jet aircraft 12 feet in the shortest time. The planes, provided by FedEx and United Airlines, will be parked side-by-side for 25-person teams to pull. The team representing the Chesapeake, Virginia, Sheriff’s Office will try and earn its tenth championship in a row, declaring a “decade of dominance” for a great cause.
Dulles Day is open to the public from 10:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., rain or shine. Admission is free. The plane-pull competition kicks off at 11 a.m. and will span several hours. Besides the plane pull, the festival grounds will feature many other activities for the enjoyment of all who attend:
- An “International Row” immediately inside the entrance gate with exhibits focusing on travel, hosted by Customs and Border Protection, TSA, CLEAR registered traveler, airlines and embassies.
- More than 40 current and vintage aircraft on display, including military support and cargo aircraft such as a Coast Guard C-130, Army helicopters, two United Express aircraft, trainer aircraft and numerous general aviation aircraft. View a more detailed aircraft list here.
- Classic car show with about 50 cars and motorcycles
- Airfield tours aboard the famous Dulles Mobile Lounges for $1 per rider
- Kids’ play area with bounce houses, truck pull and dunk-a-cop tank
- “Trackless Train” running back and forth to carry attendees along the length of the site
- Equipment displays by Airports Authority Police, Fire and Rescue and Maintenance
- Take a ride in an Airports Authority fire truck for a $5 donation to Special Olympics
- Police K-9 demonstrations scheduled for every hour beginning at 11:30 a.m.
- Food and beverages from several vendors and food trucks available for purchase. Menu items will include hot dogs, lobster rolls, fair food, tater tots, Peruvian food, Italian food, Mediterranean dishes, snow cones, ice cream, Italian ice and more.
There are two FREE options to reach the Dulles Day Family Festival and Plane Pull:
- Park in the designated “Event Parking” area – To reach the Plane Pull event by car, drive to the airport using the Airport Access Highway and keep right when entering airport grounds. Follow electronic signs to event parking. View the Dulles Day event parking map here. Free shuttles will transport patrons to and from the main entrance. Parking lots and shuttle buses are accessible for the disabled.
- Ride a special Silver Line Express bus from Metrorail’s Silver Line – Free, nonstop “Plane Pull” buses will operate to/from Metro’s Wiehle-Reston East station beginning at 10 a.m. on September 17 until the conclusion of the festival. Plan for extra travel time on Metrorail due to scheduled “SafeTrack” rail maintenance work. The free shuttle service will conclude when the festival closes for the day.
Drivers’ Note: Airport passengers arriving for their flight by car should keep left on the Airport Access Highway to avoid Festival and Plane Pull event traffic. The regular Silver Line Express bus will operate on its normal schedule and charge the usual $5 per passenger fare in each direction to and from the airport terminal.
Dulles Day patrons are reminded not to bring backpacks, weapons, coolers or pets (except service animals). Enforcement will be strict at the entrance gate. Cameras are welcome and encouraged!
To support Special Olympics Virginia, visit planepull.com or call 703-359-4301.
Media are welcome at Dulles Day. To make advance arrangements or for other questions, contact Holly Claytor at 804-370-7916 firstname.lastname@example.org or Rob Yingling at 703-417-8744 Rob.Yingling@mwaa.com.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority operates Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, the Dulles Airport Access Highway and the Dulles Toll Road and also manages construction of the Silver Line project, a 23-mile extension of the Washington region’s Metrorail public transit system through Fairfax County and into Loudoun County, Virginia. More than 44 million passengers a year pass through the two airports. The Airports Authority generates more than 387,000 jobs in the National Capital Region.
Special Olympics Virginia is an accredited state program of Special Olympics Incorporated. Special Olympics is an international organization that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports every day, around the world. Through work in sports, health, education and community building, Special Olympics is addressing inactivity, injustice, intolerance and social isolation by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities which leads to a more welcoming and inclusive society. Visit us at specialolympicsva.org. Engage with us on Twitter @solympicsva; Facebook; Instagram @specialolympicsva and YouTube.