Dawn Patrol being held next Sunday at Maple Grove Airport
By Dawn Horton
The 66th Annual Dawn Patrol will be held next Sunday, Sept. 11, at the Maple Grove Airport. The airport is located at the corner of Sherwood and Robb Roads, north of town. Take Fowlerville Road north four miles to Sherwood Road and then turn east and drive one mile to the airport.
Along with the traditional “all you can eat” breakfast and the fly-in of planes, several new events are being offered. Starting off will be an Ecumenical Church Service 6:30 a.m., conducted by area ministers.
With this being the 15th anniversary of the 9-11 Attack, as a special attraction organizers are hosting the Michigan Vietnam War Traveling Memorial Wall which lists the names of all the Michigan soldiers, Marines, and sailors killed in that conflict. The Wall will be escorted through Fowlerville to the airport by the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club some time on Saturday. The Memorial will then to open for public viewing on Sunday.
This display is sponsored by Fowlerville Farms, the Michigan Helicopter Association, Champion Chevrolet, Dick Scott Motor Mall, Walmart, and Baymont Inn.
There will also be a live broadcast by Banana Don of WITL Radio from 8 to 10 p.m.
Several military trucks and vintage war planes will on display as will the University of Michigan Survival Flight. New this year will be the War Dogs Exhibit that showcases the role that service dogs play in the military and law enforcement operations.
In addition, Dennis Bowdin of Helicopter Air Specialty Service, located on the west side of the airfield, will have several of his helicopters on display.
This will be the second year of the ‘Rotary Ball Drop.’ Participants can purchase a ticket for $5 each with only 500 of them being sold. At 11 a.m. the balls will be dropped from the air via a helicopter over a target. The person with the ticket matching ball landing closest to the target will win $1,000. There will also be pries for second place ($100), third place ($75), and fourth place ($50), and fifth place ($25.
Tickets can be purchased for $10 each of three for $25. To purchase one, contact Cindy Dickerson (the Conway Township Clerk) at 223-3628, Harmon Real Estate at 223-9193, Fowlerville News & Views at 223-8670, or any Rotary member.
Proceeds from the Ball Drop will be divided between the Conway Township Cemetery Board and the Rotary Club. The township will use the money to repair damaged or broken grave stones at Benjamin Cemetery. They are also accepting donations to repair the headstones of veterans buried in the township cemeteries. Rotary earnings will go towards the school scholarships, the Fowlerville Community
Park, and the Blessings in the Backpack Program at the elementary schools.
Dawn Patrol normally draws hundreds of people who come out to visit with family and friends, enjoy the breakfast, look at the planes, and take part in other activities.
Weather permitting, several dozen pilots and their passengers will fly in for the event, coming from all over Lower Michigan.
The breakfast is served rain or shine from 7 a.m. to noon. The menu includes eggs, bacon, a ham and cheese scramble, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, donuts, and milk, orange juice, and coffee. Cost is $8 per person with children five to 12 years charged $5 and children four and under are served free.
There will be drawings taking place throughout Dawn Patrol with great prizes donated by area merchants being given away. Craft booths will also be set on the grounds with an assortment of items offered for sale.
If the weather cooperates, the Capital City Sky Divers will drop in on Sunday morning. Mister B’s Food Concession will be on the grounds on Saturday afternoon and on Sunday. Camping is allowed at the airport on Friday and Saturday nights.
The EAA-1056 will again be parking the aircraft after the pilots land. For motorists, extra parking has been set aside with three shuttle buses going back and forth to transport visitors.
Maple Grove Airport and the building where the breakfast is served are owned by the Jack Sherwood family. They have hosted Dawn Patrol since 1970 when the airport first opened. Prior to that, the event was held at Newton Field, located on Sargent Road south of town.
Helping organize and host the Dawn Patrol are, from left, Dennis Bowdoin, the manager of the Maple Grove Airport and owner of Helicopter Air Specialty Service; Jack Sherwood, owner of the Maple Grove Airport and the building where the breakfast is served; and Doug Burnie, a member of the Fowlerville Rotary and the chair its Dawn Patrol Breakfast.