Santa visits city airport despite rainy weather
By: Paige Bilsbury
With rainy weather in the mix on Dec. 3, the College Park Aviation Museum hosted what was to be their annual Santa fly-in, but in a non-traditional way. Rather than actually flying in, Santa simply taxied along the College Park Airport’s runway and waved to smiling children inside the museum.
The event has been a community staple since Cathy Allen, the museum’s founding director, first invited Santa to land at the airport in 1998. The cost of admission ($5 for everyone older than 2) gave this year’s visitors a day filled with themed arts and crafts, access to all the museum’s exhibits and the opportunity for photos with Santa himself. Some 400 people reserved slots for photos this year.
Jamie Jones, public programs manager at the airport, aimed to create an inclusive, interactive event after two years of fly-ins were canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“This is really an event for all ages and people who just want to have fun!” she said.
Baltimore resident Steve Baker brought his grandson Arthur, who is 7, to the museum. Fans of the event, they have attended previous fly-ins together, too. They weren’t fazed in the least by the weather.
“As long as Santa Claus can get here, we’re happy,” Baker said. “I have flown airplanes before, and the museum has some really great exhibits. They have some really cool hands-on things.”
Visitors eagerly participated in crafts, including making snow globes, writing letters to Santa, fashioning polar bear handprints and coloring pages featuring trains and planes. (The museum’s Trains and Planes holiday event is right around the corner, on Dec. 16.)
Some guests were new to the museum and the Santa fly-in. District resident Erin Foxworthy heard about the event from a friend. Foxworthy brought her 3-year-old son to the event.
“The idea of Santa flying in was really cool for him, something different and unique,” said Foxworthy, as she hugged her excited son.
Museum Director Kevin Cabrera said that the fly-in is always a hit. Look to next year’s November edition of the Here & Now for Santa’s schedule and be sure to book your photo reservations early!