Monster bash mashes fair fun, aviation in Port Lavaca

Oct. 29, 2011 at 5:29 a.m.

Adyn Garza, 4, takes a break from decorating his pumpkin to munch on his sausage on a stick during the Monster Bash on Saturday at Calhoun County Airport.

Adyn Garza, 4, takes a break from decorating his pumpkin to munch on his sausage on a stick during the Monster Bash on Saturday at Calhoun County Airport.

Children debuted their Halloween costumes at the Monster Bash at the Calhoun County Airport in Port Lavaca on Saturday.

Six-year-old Emma Madison Garcia dressed up as a witch with a dark purple and black dress and tall black hat.

"I like witches," said Emma, of Port Lavaca, who remembered dressing up as a ballerina last year.

"The good witches, right?" her grandmother Norma Garza reminded her.

Her little brother Adrian Olascuaga, 4, dressed as Pikachu from Pokemon in yellow - his favorite color.

Alenna Hargrave and her white terriers, Lady and Prince, dressed up as devils with little red horns and capes at her booth, where she sold marionette puppets, hair feathers and temporary tattoos.

"The main thing is to have fun," Hargrave said.

Twenty-two registered vendors decked their jewelry, craft and clothing booths in webbing, monster masks and other Halloween decor.

Some of the stations were interactive such as face painting, pumpkin decorating and games.

The Monster Bash also featured traditional fall festivities, including hay rides, a costume contest, a pumpkin decorating contest and bobbing for apples.

Vendors sold carnival food, including turkey legs, sausage on a stick, funnel cakes and ice cream.

The Experimental Aircraft Association offered free airplane rides for young people ages 8 to 18 with their Young Eagles Program.

Steve Plunkett, the FBO Manager at the Calhoun County Airport, said it drives him crazy that so many children have never experienced flying.

"I love the first timers. They're the best," Plunkett said. "When the plane starts and their heart jumps a little bit, but in a good way. That's my favorite part."

Conner Collins, 8, of Port Lavaca, flew in a small plane for the first time with the Young Eagles. He said he had flown in a helicopter before, but he was still a little scared taking off.

"But once you took off it was pretty fun. We saw everything!" Conner said. "We could see the whole town, sort of. I like flying because you get to see stuff you don't usually get to see."

The Young Eagles program broadens the scope of children's futures, said chief flight instructor at the Calhoun Air Center Eric Derickson.

"The EAA Young Eagles program takes kids for free rides," Derickson said. "Just to put the spark of aviation in them."

The flight school relocated from Port Lavaca to Victoria in December 2010.

"People don't realize how accessible it is and how affordable it is to become a pilot," said Beckey Boyd Gooden, the coordinator for the flight school at the Victoria Regional Airport.

Free flights were offered all morning, followed by other aviation activities in the afternoon.

Raffle golf balls were dropped in mass from an airplane, and the owner of the one that landed closest to a particular target won a prize.

Pilots also participated in a spot landing contest and a precision pumpkin drop - aiming for a specific target from the sky with flour bags decorated as pumpkins.

The Monster Bash was intended to be a festive and safe family Halloween event, Plunkett said.

The final event of the day was "Trunk or Treating," where children collected candy from the backs of decorated trucks parked around the air field.

"It is well lit and safe and the children can start celebrating Halloween," Plunkett said. "I am happy with the turn out. I think it has been a success so far."



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