Arts & Life, Events

The youth fly high at the Festival of Flight

Thousands of people gathered at the Long Beach Airport to celebrate aviation at the Festival of Flight on Saturday.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., about 13,000 guests got to participate in activities like patio games, button stations, painting for kids and had a chance to fly high with a helicopter ride overseeing the airport in a first come, first serve basis.

Many guests got to see a Coast Guard C-27J aircraft and take a look inside the plane.
Many guests got to see a Coast Guard C-27J aircraft and take a look inside the plane. Photo credit: Kadie Gurley

Attractions like food and beer trucks, vendors, live music and various aircrafts on static display like a Coast Guard C-27J were surrounded by families along with other attendees of all ages at the festival. The celebration aimed to bring awareness to youth aviation and bring community.

“A big part of this event is trying to engage youth into aviation,” Long Beach Airport Deputy Director Juan Lopez-Rios said. “There are a lot of kids here, and we want them to dream. We could have pilots, astronauts or the people who will take our jobs.”

Many families enter the Long Beach Airport gates as the festival is underway.
Many families enter the Long Beach Airport gates as the festival is underway. Photo credit: Kadie Gurley

With a packed crowd on the air grounds, Lopez-Rios shared this is was an opportunity to serve the city.

“It’s a chance to give back,” he said. “We want to be able to give a community a free event that they can come bring their family.”

So many kids dressed up as pilots inspired to become one. Families including children at the festival were able to get first-hand experience and educated on how the different aircrafts functioned.

A young kid gets hand-on experience as we learns the different parts of the aircraft.
A young kid gets hand-on experience as we learns the different parts of the aircraft. Photo credit: Kadie Gurley

In addition to aircrafts, there were several booths that included the U.S. Army along with numerous Long Beach departments like the Long Beach Police, Long Beach Department of Parks and Recreation that guided the youth and allowed them inside their patrol cars or helicopter.

Continuing with the goal of bringing awareness to children on possible career choices, the Long Beach State Lunabotics team were in attendance educating kids and advocated to inspire others of engineering.

The CSULB Robotics team were in attendance at the Festival of Flight outreaching to bring awareness to STEM.
The CSULB Lunabotics team were in attendance at the Festival of Flight outreaching to bring awareness to STEM. Photo credit: Kadie Gurley

“We’re outreaching to kids, getting them inspired about STEM because a lot of kids are unsure of how it works,” fourth-year mechanical engineering major Kristine Leung said.

“Seeing all of the progress that we have made, we want to encourage students to try their best and learn from mistakes because that’s all a part of engineering,” she said. “We grow from what we learn.”

Leung brought the attention of outreaching wanted to spotlight that this could be a possible career to the children that attended the festival.

“We want to give them a better understanding of what we are doing and outreach to kids that don’t know what they want to do and give them an opportunity as to saying that this might be a career that you want to do,” she said.

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