By PAT REEDER
Special to the Leader
Each August for the past 25 years, Will Rogers and Wiley Post, who perished Aug. 15, 1935 in an Alaska plane crash, have been honored with a Fly-In. The two were undoubtedly the world’s most avid aviation boosters at the time.
Headlining the tribute each year has been the fly-in on the 2,000-foot grass strip adjacent to the house near Oologah where Will was born Nov. 4, 1879, as well as a wreath-laying at the Rogers tomb on the grounds of the Will Rogers Memorial. The annual Will Rogers & Wiley Post Fly-In will run from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 17.
Rob Cork will present a 7 p.m. Friday program in the Claremore Museum Theatre. “Will Rogers and the Winnie Mae” will include an update on the Winnie Mae’s new home in the National Air & Space Museum and the story about Wiley’s life. The aviation pioneer circled the world twice in the Winnie Mae.
Will Rogers, at the time of his death, had been selected top male motion picture box office star. He had just completed two movies, yet to be released. The 2014 observance has been expanded to include Will’s movie career.
Will Rogers Memorial Foundation has partnered with Circle Cinema in Tulsa for The Event 2014, featuring Will’s last movie. Admission proceeds will benefit the Foundation.
The Event 2014, Thursday, Aug. 14, will include a 6 p.m. reception and 7:30 p.m. screening of “Steamboat Round the Bend.” Admission is $75 per person.
Tickets and sponsorships are available at the Will Rogers Memorial Foundation website, www.willrogersmemorialfoundation,theevent.us.com, or by calling 918-341-0719.
The Will Rogers Family Film Festival, a Saturday double-feature, with admission at $5 each person, will be 10 a.m. for “Too Busy to Work” and at noon for “In Old Kentucky.”
Tickets for the Family Film Festival are on sale at www.circlecinema.com or at the theater box office.
Last year 111 pilots and an estimated 5,000 spectators attended the Fly-In. It provides a time for people of all ages to watch plane fly over the ranch, meet and greet pilots, and get an up-close look at airplanes of all kinds.
There will be inflatables for children, a Cherokee storyteller, food vendors and tours of Will’s birthplace house. Gate admission and inflatables are free.
The wreath-laying and fly-over at the family tomb will be 9 a.m., Friday, Aug. 15.