PLAINVILLE – As planes soared overhead and the constant whirl of a helicopter clattered nearby, Benjamin and Matthew Dayton checked out the Trumpf company Cessna Citation Excel jet parked on tarmac of Robertson airport Saturday.
“Checking out the inside of the plane,” was eight-year-old Benjamin Dayton’s favorite part. “There are seats.”
It was the first time the Dayton family attended the annual Plainville Wings and Wheels Fly-In and Car Show, a charity event that raises thousands for the Petit Family Foundation and the Plainville Food Pantry.
“We see it flying by all the time,” near their Plainville home, Brenda Dayton said of the Trumpf jet. “Now we get to see it up close instead of in the air.”
The event brings together plane and car enthusiasts for a day of fun with a purpose. In the previous six years since the fly-in and car show started, the event has raised $123,000 donated to both the Petit Family Foundation, which supports charities throughout the state, and the Plainville Food Pantry, which serves thousands of local families and individuals annually.
“I really love to give back to the community,” said Peggy Lee, a Plainville resident and the wife of Town Manager Richard Lee. Lee and a committee began organizing the event seven years ago as a way to support the two organizations while bringing the community together.
The Petit Family Foundation formed after the deaths of Michaela, 11, and Hayley, 17, Petit and their mother Jennifer Hawke-Petit, in a heinous home invasion in 2007, provides funding to organizations that foster education in young people, especially women in the sciences, improves the lives of those affected by chronic illness and support efforts to protect and help those affected by violence.
The sole survivor of the home invasion, Dr. William Petit Jr., now representing Plainville in the state legislature, has attended countless ceremonies to hand over funding to organizations throughout the state including New Britain’s Hoops for Homeless and “Be The Change” community service awards to Plainville High School students.
Michaela’s Garden Four O’Clocks, the first children’s state flower in the United States, were on sale during Saturday’s event to benefit the foundation. Annually the fly-in and car show draws about 4,000 spectators, dozens of local businesses and organizations and several planes. Helicopter and plane rides were available throughout the day along with children’s rides, a bounce house, games and other opportunities for fun.
Throughout Robertson Airport, families were enjoying the warm weather while checking out planes that served as static displays, booths from local organizations, and more than 250 classic and vintage vehicles that turned out for the car show.
New Britain resident Ed Zieger showed off his 196- and-a-half black convertible Mustang while visitors also checked out a stunning array of Corvettes, Chevelles and other shiny machines. “What better way to support the Petit Family Foundation,” said West Hartford resident Juri Kotowitz who attended with his family in part to see the car show. “Everyone loves the sound of airplanes.”
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or Lbackus@centralctcommunications.com.