Sunday, July 13, 2003

Outside the main event, there's more to do

Jim Knippenberg
Cincinnati Enquirer

Had it with climbing in and out of cockpits? Ears ringing from the constant thunder of jet engines screeching overhead?

Dayton offers several other programs - off site and not directly a part of the Dayton Air Show - related to the celebration of 100 years of manned flight.

Three of the biggest:

• Time Flies: Catch it in the Act is a gigantic program of historical storytelling, costumed characters and tours designed to recreate the circa 1900 Dayton of Orville and Wilbur Wright. It opened July 4 and continues through July 20, when the air show closes.

Locations include Carillon Historical Park and its 23 historical buildings where you'll meet a cast of characters from 1900 Dayton; Huffman Prairie Flying Field, where the brothers practiced flying and where you can see a short play about the principles of flight; Paul Laurence Dunbar State Memorial, site of storytelling, rhyming games and a performance based on the poet's works; and the Wright Dunbar Interpretive Center for storytelling, biographies of the Wrights and Dunbar and turn-of-the-century games.

A four-day ticket (it's a total of 20 hours programming, so you need to pace yourself) is $20 adults, $12 for kids 6-12 years old, $17 for seniors 60 and older. They're available at all four sites.

Tip: Park at the University of Dayton Arena and take the shuttle. Go to for info.

• The U.S. Air Force Museum, adjacent to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, has added a 200,000-square-foot hangar for exhibits. It's dedicated entirely to planes of the Cold War, roughly 1949 to 1989 vintage.

Thirty planes and 1,000 artifacts include such gems as the B-36 Peacemaker with its 236-foot wingspan; an AC-130 Gunship, so sleek and compact it fits under the tail of the C-133 Cargomaster; an F-86 Sabre without its skin so you can look at the innards; and a whole raft of early fighter jets.

It's open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily and always free. Get information at

• Celebration Central is downtown at Deeds Point, a 12-acre wedge formed by the junction of the Great Miami and Mad rivers.

This one's aimed at the family and includes a little of everything: Live music, flight-related entertainment, the film Discover Exhilaration, exhibits and interactive activities in a cluster of tented pavilions.

It's open noon-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, noon-11 p.m. Sundays through July 20; $10 adults, $8 seniors 60 and older, free under 15. Go to and click on Celebration Central.

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