By Kimberly Cassel Pritchett
Sun News Correspondent
Despite the abnormally warm temperatures for January, snow is expected in Middle Georgia with the arrival of the Museum of Aviation Foundation’s annual Winter Wonderfest on January 28 and January 29.
Last year, the event drew about 4,000 visitors on the first day, according to Jenny Maas, director of operations for the Museum of Aviation Foundation, so they are preparing for 8,000 this year and hoping to raise more than $30,000. The event, sponsored by Spherion Staffing, benefits the Museum of Aviation Foundation, the facility’s general operations and the STEM education programs.
The wintery white phenomenon, which is rarely seen in the midstate, will be synthetically made just for the two-day event, which will be held from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday on the grounds of the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force. In addition to the snow, Winter Wonderfest will feature rides, food, arts and crafts, magic shows and fun characters, according to Maas.
The snow, which will be set up in a large 40-by-20 foot area, will be about four inches deep, and the kids will be able to play in it. According to Maas, a few areas will also be set up where snow will be falling on the property and will provide picture opportunities.
“It is actual synthetic snow we have made. It is cold, but it is not really wet,” she said. “It looks like snow; it acts like snow.”
Although admission is free, armbands must be purchased for individual rides and are good for the entire day, Maasn said. Armbands are $12 for children ages 6 and younger and $15 for ages 7 and older. The $12 armband includes horse rides, hayrides, snow tubing, rock wall climbing, a petting zoo, bounce houses, a mechanical bull and the snow areas. The $15 armband includes everything the $12 armband includes, plus Stunt Jumpz, a four-story free-fall jump into a huge inflated pillow, and a 30-foot-tall zip line.
“We had a great turnout last year … because of that, we doubled the number of activities we are having,” she said.
About 12 specialty vehicles, including fire trucks, police cars, ambulances and monster trucks, will be available for children to explore, and Mike Fuller the Magician, will be performing two magic shows a day well. The Macon Mayhem hockey team will be on site for a meet and greet from 2-4 p.m. Sunday and players will be signing autographs as well raffling off tickets to games, Maas said. The Attic, a maze attraction, will also be open for an additional $7.
Fourteen food trucks and more than 30 to 40 arts and crafts vendors will also be on site, according to Nicole Bissette, executive director for the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame.
“We have anything from Mediterranean, barbecue, to Caribbean, tacos, ice cream — anything you can think of, we’ve got it this year,” she expressed. “I’m really excited about it. (There’s) a wide range of different cultural cuisine.”
A variety of popular characters including Elsa, Anna and Olaf from “Frozen,” Spider-man, Captain America and Peppa Pig will be making appearances in both the Eagle and Hangar One buildings as well as mingling outside with the crowd, Bissette said.
“It’s an all-hands-on-deck event here,” Bissette said, adding that in addition to staff, an additional 50 to 60 volunteers will be helping out. “You can come and contribute to the museum and have fun doing it. (It’s) just a fun way to fund-raise for the museum (and) for eight hours, we hear laughter all day. It is genuinely one of my favorite events here.”
Parking will be available at Anchor Glass, across the street from the Museum of Aviation,Maas said.
Armbands can be purchased in advance online at www.museumofaviation.org
The Museum of Aviation has grown to become the second largest museum in the United States Air Force and the fourth most visited museum in the Department of Defense. The museum is a place that honors our veterans and their families and reminds our Airmen of their legendary Air Force heritage.