r Saturday morning, May 5, a “Kickoff Celebration” for the Civil Air Patrol’s Gail Halvorsen Aviation Education Center was held at the Spanish Fork Airport. Gail Halvorsen is a local resident who gained fame as the “Berlin Candy Bomber” dropping candy bars with miniature parachutes during the Berlin airlift from September 1948 to May 1949. The concept of raising money for a tribute museum, aviation education center, and CAP hangar has matured into a serious project under the guidance of community relations coordinator Angela Davidson. A parcel of land at the entrance to the airport has been secured with groundbreaking planned for October 13. This kickoff celebration, one of many fundraising projects, was timely and a great success.
The event organizers promoted this “kickoff celebration” with a few posters around town and their Facebook page and they were surprised at the crowd of more than an estimated 1,500 people that turned out. In addition to 97-year-old Gail Halvorsen, his pilot grandson was present, along with Senator Mike Lee, State Representative La Var Christensen, and Spanish Fork Mayor Steve Leifson. Everyone kept their speeches short to get on with the main event of the morning. Gail Halvorsen and Senator Lee went up in a helicopter and in four passes dropped 500 Hershey Bars dangling under small white parachutes for the kids in the crowd. The candy bars landed in the field where the Gail Halvorsen Museum and Aviation Education Center will be built. It was a pretty amazing sight.
Fundraising is not completed and monthly events will continue. If you would like to learn more and contribute to the Gail Halvorsen Aviation Education Center please check out their Facebook page and website, www.thecandybomber.org.