By Anthony Stephens
The airspace over the sleepy little coastal community of Mashes Sands was abuzz this weekend as dozens of airplanes flew in for the first annual Wakulla Wings & Wheels Airport Fly-in. Wakulla’s airport, located at the Southwest most point of Wakulla county, along with the fly-in community of Tarpine hosted today’s event.
When asked about how today’s turnout went, Bill Russell, a current volunteer Chief at Ochlockonee Bay VFD, said “Fantastic”. He even went on to say that “In the 32 years I have lived in the community this is possibly the highest number of people ever at the airport”.
As you looked around the event, various types of aircraft could be seen on display from small hobby aircraft to even Air Methods air ambulance.
There seemed to be an airplane coming in or taking off every few minutes.
Also on display was a variety of antique cars, as well as multiple food and craft vendors from the local area. Automobile tags in the parking areas were seen from Georgia and Alabama.
The event was put on by the Tarpine Community, which is the only fly in community in Wakulla. Steven Fults Sr., who is the airport manager stated that they had been talking about hosting the event for a long time and finally decided to pull the trigger.
Mr. Fults said one of his main goals was to introduce the community to its airport and to promote awareness for aviation and aviation safety in Wakulla. Another goal was to introduce outside flyers to the small community and airport.
Mr. Fults also stated that the Tarpine subdivision and its residents are responsible through their HOA to pay for maintenance at the airport, an agreement with the Wakulla county.
Wakulla County Commissioner Ralph Thomas, who spent the morning at the festival, said ” I believe this was the first event of any type to be held at the Wakulla Airport. The event today created exposure, giving the community the opportunity to learn more about the airport, how it benefits our County and it’s future possibilities.”
Mr. Fults, happy about the event’s success, said “[n]ext years event will be bigger and better; I learned a lot about hosting a fly-in and hopefully, we can do it next year and have more to show.”