Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Rival crashes Dayton's Wright party

North Carolina promotes upcoming Kitty Hawk celebration

By James Hannah
The Associated Press

DAYTON - Ohio's rival in claiming the honor of being the birthplace of aviation is not keeping a low profile at the city's celebration of the 100th anniversary of powered flight.

Representatives from North Carolina, where Orville and Wilbur Wright made their first flight, set up a booth in the Countdown to Kitty Hawk pavilion to promote their state's celebration later this year.

The booth was established by the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau for North Carolina's First Flight Centennial celebration. Event planners and a ranger from the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk will help staff the pavilion.

Hollan White, of Raleigh, N.C., helped man the booth Monday and said organizers of Dayton's celebration were OK with the state trying to recruit visitors for its event.

"I don't really consider it a rivalry. It's been more of a partnership," White said.

The Wrights made their first flight on the sand dunes near Kitty Hawk, N.C., on Dec. 17, 1903, because of the strong winds. The brothers invented, developed and tested their airplanes in their hometown of Dayton.

Ohio and North Carolina have sparred for decades about which is the true birthplace of flight.

Last month, a resolution naming Dayton as the birthplace of aviation passed through Congress, over the objections of North Carolina lawmakers.

Madeline Iseli, organizer of the Dayton celebration, said North Carolina's presence does not take away from the city's event.

"We wanted them to be here," Iseli said. "We each have an important piece of this story. You wouldn't be telling the whole story unless you told all the pieces."

Iseli said "by all rights" the world's attention should be focused on Kitty Hawk on Dec. 17. And she said Dayton officials plan to attend that celebration.

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