Washington Dulles International Airport opens its doors and welcomes the community on September 21st to the special Dulles Day Family Festival. The festival takes place on the Cargo Ramp at Dulles from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and features the 10th annual "tug of war" between human and machine -- the annual Plane Pull.
Dulles Day is organized by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police Department to raise money for Special Olympics Virginia. Admission and parking for this event are free. The festival includes aircraft on display, a car show, live musical entertainment, food and beverages, games and activities for children, and a raffle to win free tickets on various airlines.
The centerpiece of the day however is the Plane Pull, where teams of twenty people pull a 145,000-pound Boeing 727 aircraft made available by Federal Express. More than 60 teams, which each donate $1,000 to Special Olympics, compete to pull the plane 12-feet by rope in a timed competition. Over the last nine years, the Airports Authority estimates that nearly $500,000 has been raised for Special Olympics Virginia at this event.
The Honorary Chairman for this, the 10th anniversary of the event, is Michael Kohn, native of Chantilly, Virginia and member of the bronze medal-winning men's four-man bobsled team at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Kohn helped the US capture its first Olympic men's bobsled medal since 1956 and is also member of the Virginia Army National Guard.
"This is a great opportunity for the Airports Authority to support an important program like Special Olympics Virginia and to open the airport to the community with displays and information about the world of aviation," says James A. Wilding, President and CEO of the Airports Authority and Chairman of the event.
As part of the Dulles Day Festival, the ramp area at the Cargo 5 Building will be transformed into a family festival.
The 4th annual car show features antiques, hot rods, motorcycles and other vintage vehicles.
As part of the festival, an exhibit area will include numerous aircraft, including military, commercial and civilian aircraft, on display to the public. Raffle tickets will be on sale at the Festival for the vehicle as well as chances to win over 20 pairs of round trip airline tickets to domestic and international destinations.
Visitors to the Dulles Day Family Festival will also find: fire and police equipment displays; airport snow removal and large equipment display; and a Kid's Corner, featuring a moon bounce, games, ball crawl, face painting and inflatable slides.
The original Plane Pull - the first of its kind in the nation, was created at Dulles Airport in 1992 to raise money for Special Olympics Virginia. Similar events are now held across the country at other airports.
For more information, log onto the event web site at www.planepull.com which is also linked through the Authority web site at www.mwaa.com. Individuals interested in volunteering for the event should call 1-877-874-7462.
Parking for the Dulles Day is free. Follow signs on the airport, which will read "Dulles Day/Plane Pull Parking."