An annual Chili Cook-Off “kicked-off” at the Champaign Aviation Museum at Grimes Field this past Saturday with keynote speaker Dewey Davenport, an Ohio native and aviation icon.
Davenport is a national barnstormer pilot, aviator, winner of the 2021 AOPA Sharples Award, an accomplished military drone pilot and a pilot for NetJets.
The annual cook-off was organized by Mark Curtner, president of the 421 Chapter of the “The Experimental Aircraft Association” (EAA) and he is also an aviation technology instructor at Ohio Hi-Point Career Center and teaches aviation in the Urbana City Schools.
“We are very excited to have Dewey Davenport to speak here today, he is a real aviation icon,” said Curtner.
Davenport spoke to the crowd about his aviation and barnstormer career.
Davenport is the brain child of the “Barnstorming Carnival.” He is a real modern day barnstormer who lives in Xenia, Ohio and is owner and operator of one of the most popular biplane ride businesses east of the Mississippi called Goodfolk & O’Tymes Biplane Rides.
Back in the day, barnstormers were pilots, many were men who had served in WWI but there were also women, and minorities who traveled the United States in the early 1920’s and 30’s selling airplane rides and doing aerial tricks for a living.
Davenport has been flying for over 23 years and has been involved in many aspects of aviation and helping with the community by sharing his love and passion for aviation for many years.
His Barnstorming Carnival, which is now in its eighth year, continues to grow each and every year and is a free community event that allows one to experience the Golden Age of Aviation.
Located at the nearby historical Springfield Beckley Airport in Springfield, Ohio, the event brings aviation enthusiasts and the area communities together. The Barnstorming Carnival is the opportunity to experience some of the rarest 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s aircraft gathered together in our local area and actually has had over 5,000 spectators and up to 60 aircraft on display, all from the 1920’s through the 40’s or replicas of that era.
The carnival also includes a pancake breakfast, car show and Ernst Rosser’s famous Tuskegee Tribute Show Car.
This is a premier regional family event that includes a variety of kids’ activities such as pedal planes, paper and powered rocket building workshops, foam glider building, balloon tying clowns, magic shows, and a display of rare antique aircraft with real barnstormers who will share their aviation knowledge with all.
The National Aviation Heritage Area includes Grimes Field & the Champaign Aviation Museum
The Champaign Aviation Museum and Grimes Field have the distinct honor of being a part of the National Aviation Heritage Area which consists of 10 world-class area aviation sites including the world’s largest military aviation museum, the birthplace of the Wright Brothers and the Armstrong Air & Space Museum.
The Champaign Aviation Museum is also on the “Aviation Trail” which is a passport program consisting of 17 area aviation sites. All of these organizations fall under the umbrella of the National Park Service with respective partnerships.
The National Aviation Heritage Area is the recognized center of aviation heritage tourism and aerospace innovation, sustaining the legacy of the Wright brothers.
Their mission is to preserve and develop the assets in the National Aviation Heritage Area and promote the heritage and future of aerospace, while offering one-of-a-kind experiences found nowhere else in the world.
Ron Brohm is an Outdoors, Tourism Automotive & Aviation Journalist and writes for the Urbana Daily Citizen and other AIM Media Midwest newspapers and several national magazines. He is also a Certified Parks & Recreation Professional (CPRP), serves as the Park Commissioner for the City of Riverside and is the Executive Director of the Great Ohio Outback Wilderness Regional Authority.