Wings and Wheels draws crowd



The sun was shining brightly over Robertson Airport as hundreds gathered for the sixth annual Wings and Wheels event on Sunday. Each year, the committee holds the Wings and Wheels fundraiser to benefit the Plainville Community Food Pantry and the Petit Family Foundation, both major organizations in Plainville.

Funds generated from the event go directly to the food pantry and the Petit Family Foundation, so good attendance means more financial support for the two groups. While last year’s rain affected the turnout, officials said that the 2017 event was a success. Susie Woerz, Plainville Food Pantry director, said the increased publicity this year helped.

“We touched a lot more people,” she said. “Every year, it gets better and we couldn’t have asked for a better day.”

Committee chair Scott Saunders said that the plane rides and fly-ins were a huge hit.

“LifeStar came in and the crowd went wild,” Saunders said, adding that children were given the opportunity to “crawl through” after it landed.

Attendees could also purchase discovery flights which allowed them to ride – and steer – in the plane for a 20 minute adventure. Many people got to fly over their houses and circle through the Plainville, Bristol, and Southington region under the supervision of Interstate Aviation.

On land, people were sprawled across the airport. A kids’ carnival offered family-friendly rides and games, vendors were on-hand, and as always, the Fire Department operated the food tent. The Curl Daddy’s volunteered their time and talent to play live music for the entire event, offering California styled Surf and Rockabilly tunes.

“It was a great turnout with a lot of people,” said Dr. Bill Petit, founder of the Petit Family Foundation honoring his late wife and two daughters.

Hosted by the Bristol Auto Club, the car show saw nearly 300 cars this year – some a century old. Bristol Auto Club is a non-profit organization that encourages and maintains interest in the automotive hobby and is known for Saturday night cruises and community car shows. Club member Steve Emmendorfer has been involved in running the Wings and Wheels show since its inception.

Every event sponsor and the two beneficiaries had a representative choose their favorite automobile in the lot, so 35 trophies were awarded to car owners during the show. Saunders said that many people come back each year in hopes of collecting trophies. Emmendorfer and organization representatives approached each winning car and handed them a trophy.

Petit presented three trophies on behalf of his organization. “That’s my big winner over there,” he said, pointing to a teal vehicle from the 1950s.

The committee spent months preparing for the sixth annual Wings and Wheels fundraiser, which served hundreds of locals. Woerz said she hopes they continue to hold the event every year moving forward.

“They put a lot of work into this and we really appreciate it,” she said.

Emma Campell, 4, of Plainville, sits in LifeStar at Wings and Wheels on Saturday. This annual event held at Robertson Airport. Proceeds go to the Petit Family Foundation and The Plainville Community Food Pantry. (LISA SANCHEZ GONZALEZ)