, Salem, MA

July 31, 2013

Airport Day, block party are new to Homecoming

By Bethany Bray and Cheryl Lecesse, STAFF WRITERS
The Salem News

---- — BEVERLY — Planes in the air and a party in the street are two new additions to the more than 80 events planned for the 48th annual Beverly Homecoming celebration.

On Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., all are invited to the first Airport Day, which offers a chance to check out planes up-close on the ground and in the air, at Beverly Municipal Airport.

“Kids love to see airplanes,” said Tom Lyons, squadron commander for Civil Air Patrol at the Beverly airport. “There will be a few they can climb out of.”

Paul Vitale, chairman of the Beverly Airport Commission, said Lyons approached him a couple of months ago about hosting an aviation day.

“They haven’t done anything in the past, so I thought this might be a good year in trying something different,” Lyons said.

A number of planes will be on display during the free event, including one of the Civil Air Patrol’s search and rescue planes.

“It’s equipped with radio detection finding equipment to locate missing aircraft,” said Lyons, adding that a mission pilot will be on hand to describe the plane’s operations.

Visitors to the airport can also enjoy helicopter and airplane rides for a small fee.

The Civil Air Patrol, which has 60,000 members nationwide, does 90 percent of the inland search and rescue for the U.S. Air Force, Lyons said. Members are all civilian volunteers.

The local group, which Lyons said has been based in Beverly since the early 1980s, helps at the airport with security and crowd control and also performs ramp inspections on a regular basis, Vitale said.

Both hope the event has a good turnout.

“I’d like to have it as a yearly event and build upon it each year,” Vitale said.

The same can be said for “The Block,” which is returning to downtown Cabot Street Saturday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., after the first street fair of its kind was a success on July 13.

Locals are encouraged to meet up with friends, stroll Cabot Street, enjoy the live music and food offerings — pop-up street vendors will have everything from beer, wine and coffee to chocolates, seafood and Italian food.

The event will feature musicians Barrence Whitfield at 5:30 p.m., Froggy and the Friendship at 7:15 p.m. and Sound Association at 8:45 p.m.

Cabot Street will be closed from Pond Street to Federal Street during the event. For more information, visit