The second Saturday of June brings to the Kenai and Soldotna airports the Annual Kenai Air Fair. The idea of Kenai Airport manager Mary Bondurant, the Kenai Air Fair is fifteen years in the running, “It started out at the Civil Air Patrol hanger with a spring poker run for pilots to get together to brush the dust off the wings kind of event but as the years went by the time it took for the pilots to return from the run saw folks mingling around the airport and getting bored so we came up with entertainment, static aircraft displays and then Military Appreciation ceremonies to take that time to express thanks to our military service families in a special way,” explained Bondurant. This year’s poker run included landing strips on the Peninsula: Homer, Kasilof, Kenai, McGahn, Ninilchik, Quartz Creek, Seward and Soldotna. “We didn’t open it to float planes again this year because of the elodea invasive plant. We wanted to give the eradication one more year to make sure that we don’t transplant it to somewhere else so we were only on wheels this year,” said Bondurant.
According to Bondurant 40 pilots participated in this year’s the poker run with the best hand drawn by John Drozdowski of Anchorage, who came up with a full house, “18 poker prizes were donated by the cities of Kenai & Soldotna, Alaska Oil Sales, Alaska West Air, Alaska Railroad, Arctic Motor Sports, Burger Bus, Chena Hot Springs, Dan’s TV & Appliance, Don Jose’s, Frames an Things, Froso’s, Flats Bistro, Grant Aviation, Home Depot, Highmark Distillery, Ken’s Alaskan Tackle, Kenai River Brewing, Kassik’s Brewery, Knik Construction, Metal Magic, Odie’s Deli, Paradiso’s, RAVN Air Alaska, St. Elias Brewery, SBS, Sportsman Warehouse, Walmart and Wilderness Way. Additionally or financial sponsors included Crowley Fuel, Alaska Airmen’s Association, Beacon Occupational Health & Safety, Peninsula Aero Tech, Wince-Corthell-Bryson, Peninsula Ears, Nose, and Throat. Without these sponsors we couldn’t have the event so a very big thank you and a very special thank you to Hobo Jim, Alaska Commemorative Air Force, Kodiak USCG, Alaska Air Guard, local EAA, American Legion Post 20, Airgas, Junior Civil Air Patrol, Copper River Seafood, Jumping Junction, Kenai Fire Department, Kenai Senior Center, Kenai Football Team, Kenai Chamber of Commerce, Jersey Subs, Missionary Aviation Repair Center (MARC) for donations, time, and work. It was
another beautiful day for the Kenai Peninsula to enjoy flying in Alaska and to thank our Military!” The Commemorative Air Force brought vintage WWII fighters and trainers and for a small donation gave visitors an opportunity to go up for a ride. They also made a historic fly over during the Military Appreciation ceremony.