Aroostook County -  Excitement is building for the return of an event that drew more than 3,000 people to the Northern Maine Regional Airport last fall.  Take Flight – a free activity that is part air show, part community festival, part recognition of the economic development benefit the airport brings to The County, part awareness building about the region’s emergency medical air transport services, and all about celebrating healthy living in Aroostook,  returns  to the airport in Presque Isle on Saturday, October 4.

As the event approaches, organizers have released details of the expanded activity that will take place both in the air and on the ground.  The plane parade, helicopter fly-ins and water drops, live patient air flight demonstrations, scenic fall foliage flights, TAMC’s Fall Health Fair, The Jump bouncy house corner, and a community vendor fair all return.  Added to the list are many new activities including the PenAir 5k on the Runway, University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Physical Education Program Fit and Fun activities for children, and the Discovery Days program session on physical activity hosted by Healthy Aroostook, which will be accompanied by a children’s run on the runway.

Event organizers for the upcoming Take Flight event coming to the Northern Maine Regional Airport in Presque Isle on October 4 gather in front of the Coca Cola building in the Skyway Industrial Park near the Northern Maine Regional Airport with the 1,000 empty bottles that will be used for a most unique prize draw. Five lucky event attendees will win a round trip ticket from Presque Isle to Boston courtesy of PenAir as a result of the PenAir and Coca-Cola Great Bottle Dive.
Helping to coordinate the event are (left to right) Theresa Fowler, executive director of the Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce; Scott Wardwell, director of the Northern Maine Regional Airport; Tony Phillips, general manager of Coca Cola in northern Maine; Ellen Nickerson, manager for PenAir in Presque Isle; and Benjamin Everett, supervisor for TAMC Crown Emergency Care.

A collaborative team from the Northern Maine Regional Airport, Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce, TAMC, PenAir, Coca-Cola and several other stakeholder businesses and organizations has worked since last year’s Take Flight to coordinate the coming event.

“It will be even bigger and better than last year,” said Jason Parent of TAMC, one of the lead organizers.  “It is really shaping up to be a great day that I am certain will again draw a lot of folks from around the area.  We have an impressive line-up of activities and all told between the aviation component, health fair, and community vendor fair, over 90 participating groups.”

Among the highlights and features of Take Flight are:

Scenic Fall Foliage Flights – Short flights over the Star City during peak foliage season.  Cost is $40 per person.  Organizers are expecting flights to be booked in advance of the event.  A special website has been set up for interested community members to reserve and purchase a seat.  For more information or to purchase seats on flights, go to www.tamc.org/takeflight.  All proceeds from flights benefit TAMC Crown Critical Care Transport.

Helicopter Fly-ins and Demonstration – Featuring three helicopters, one each from LifeFlight of Maine, the Maine Forest Service, and the U.S. Border Protection Agency.  Representatives of each group will have personnel on hand and present information about what they do and allow attendees to see the helicopters up-close.  Additionally, the Maine Forest Service helicopter crew will conduct two bucket drop fire suppression exercises on-site at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Presque Isle’s Plane Parade  - Featuring various pilots and planes.  The formation of planes will gather on the runway just before 12:00 noon and taxi and take off one after the other, flying in parade formation over the Star City and landing in succession.

In addition to the plane parade, PenAir will have one of its airplanes on site at the Take Flight event for area residents to check out.

Crown Critical Care Transport Live Patient Flight Demonstrations – Twice during the event (at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.) the Crown Critical Care Transport team will conduct live demonstrations of a patient air transport.  The “patient” will be brought on site to the airport in a Crown Emergency Care Ambulance and transferred onto the Crown Critical Care Transport fixed wing aircraft, which will prepare for and take-off.

Presque Isle Fire Department Crash Truck Demonstration – The Presque Isle Fire Department will demonstrate what their crash truck, which is permanently stationed at the Northern Maine Regional Airport Emergency Response building, can do with two demonstrations at 10:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Community Vendor Fair – Featuring more than 40 vendors, including food, crafters, and other wares.  Among the participants will be the Star Herald/Print Works, which will provide free hot dogs to attendees, accepting donations for TAMC Critical Care Transport.  Coca-Cola of Aroostook will also offer free samples of their healthy beverage line to attendees.

Free Document Shredding  - Attendees of Take Flight are encouraged to bring with them any documents they have lying around the house they feel would best be shredded.  With identity theft and other related personal information security issues frequently in the headlines, Aroostook Shredding will be on-site to offer this service free of charge.  The owners of the business thought it was important to offer this to area residents who might not otherwise have easy access to the equipment to shred important papers they no longer need.

PenAir 5k on the Runway – Join in a most unique 5K run/walk event to benefit Crown Critical Care Transport.  The event will begin at the Take Flight site venue (General Aviation Terminal), take participants on a runway adventure and land/end at the Northern Maine Regional Airport passenger terminal.  For more information and to register, go on-line to www.tamc.org/takeflight.

Discovery Days – REDY, Set, Go Get Active – Children will have the opportunity to take part in their own version of the PenAir 5k on the Runway as part of the Discovery Days program.  The passenger terminal at the Northern Maine Regional Airport will serve as the gathering spot for “pre-flight” activities and “take-off”.  Information and registration for the session is available at www.tamc.org/discoverydays.

Fit and Fun Activities for Kids - University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Physical Education Program will offer “Fit and Fun” activities for children at the Take Flight venue.  Kids are invited to join in on the parachute and other fun activities that will run continuously through the event.

The children’s area will also be the site of a few bouncy houses sponsored by The Jump of the Aroostook Centre Mall.

NMCC Trade and Technical Occupation Programs Open House – On the way to or from Take Flight, NMCC invites one and all to visit the labs of their Trade and Technical Occupation Programs.  The open house runs between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon.  Visitors will get to meet with instructors and current students who will demonstrate instructional labs in operation.  The skills demonstrations will showcase up-to-date technology.  Visitors will gather in the lobby of the Smith Wellness Center for tours and the awarding of door prizes which include a six month membership to the Wellness Center and three credits of free tuition for a major trade course.

TAMC Fall Health Fair “Take Flight… with good health” –To match the aviation theme, “Take Flight… with good health” will take place on-site inside the Commercial Hangar at the General Aviation Terminal.  TAMC staff will offer a free seasonal flu shot clinic.  A number of free screenings, including cholesterol and blood pressure, will be offered.  More than 40 booth spaces will be filled with presentations of various health services and educational displays, including NMCC Nursing student exhibits, ACAP, and more than a dozen TAMC services.

PenAir/Coca-Cola Great Bottle Dive –Sponsored by PenAir and Coca-Cola of Northern New England, this unique part of Take Flight will happen at the very end of the event near the entrance to the TAMC Health Fair.  The first 1,000 adults to enter the health fair in the Commercial Hangar will have the opportunity to be a part of the Great Bottle Dive when they stop by the PenAir and TAMC Welcome Center.  Attendees will write their name and contact information on a free ticket and place it into an empty bottle that will be tossed into an inflatable children’s bouncy house.  At 2:00 p.m., the names of five children who are on-site will be drawn.  One at a time, the five children will be sent into the inflatable filled with bottles to select one lucky bottle/winner each.  The individuals whose names are on the tickets in each of the five bottles drawn by the children will win a free round trip airline ticket from Presque Isle to Boston, compliments of PenAir.

“Coca-Cola is glad to be a part of this event. We are especially excited about bringing the first ever Great Bottle Dive to Presque Isle,” said Tony Phillips, general manager of Coca-Cola in northern Maine.  “We had such a great turnout at last year’s event and enjoyed meeting so many folks from throughout The County.  We are looking forward to another great Take Flight event.”

More information on the Take Flight event can be found online at www.tamc.org/takeflight or by calling 768-4044.