Thousands visit KSU Airport for festivities

Joanna Adolph

STOW – Propellers buzzing across the field, helicopters chopping through the air and even chain saws grinding sculptures out of giant blocks of ice were just a few of the exhilarating sounds that dominated the Kent State Airport yesterday.

Thousands upon thousands flocked to the airport for its 10th annual Aviation Day. Partnered with “A Taste of Stow,” the event was set up like a fair and drew in a wide range of spectators.

“Aviation Day is an opportunity for us to open up the entire airport to the local community,” said Isaac Nettey, senior academic program director. “It also gives us an opportunity for students, faculty, alumni and several other stakeholders in the program to come together as a group to share our common love of aviation with the local community and have fun.”

Several aircrafts were on display including a C-47 and TBM Avenger.

The highlight of the day was when two F-15 planes did several loops over the airport. Dennis Baden, senior environmental compliance coordinator, said the F-15s are always a crowd favorite. The F-15s flew very low over the crowd and performed several maneuvers before disappearing into the sky.

The Kent State Gospel Choir, directed by Linda B. Walker, also performed dressed in colorful kante cloths.

“The colors represent the colors of the West African nations,” Walker said.

Sophomore Spanish major Lauren Stahl said she came to watch a few friends who were in the choir.

“I never really listen to (gospel music), but I really enjoy it,” Stahl said. “It’s a different feeling.”

Senior hospitality management majors were the main food provider for this year’s Extravaganza. Each week, the hospitality management majors make food for an event.

“It’s a good opportunity for our major to get our name out there,” said Lauren Federico, senior hospitality management major. “There’s a lot of freshmen here, so they can see what we do, and if they’re thinking about it, maybe it will make them want to join.”

Groups from Admissions to the Wick Poetry Center also lined the field house track, offering games and information. Many of the organizations were new Extravaganza participants, including the Professional Women of KSU booth being operated by Adult Services Director Rachel Anderson.

“We’ve never participated in Homecoming before,” Anderson said. “We’ve always done Experience Kent State. It’s kind of nice to have it connected. We’re getting more alumni.”

A number of local mascots were also there to take pictures. Slider from the Cleveland Indians, Skipper from the Lake County Captains and Snoopy from Geauga Lake were all present, but the biggest attraction was “Bennie,” Benedictine High School’s mascot. The live two-month-old Bengal tiger rolled playfully in her cage, biting her chew toy as people lined up to pet her.

“We go around to the schools and nursing homes and go talk about the plight of the Bengal tiger,” said Brother Theodore Girard, who takes care of the cub. “We keep her as long as the team is playing, which is usually until December, and then she goes to a zoo.”

Contact alumni affairs reporter Joanna Adolph at [email protected].