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Clintonville celebrates its aviation legacy

Five panels of aviation-related art created by local artist Al Mueller were featured at the July 18 celebration at the Clintonville Municipal Airport. File Photo

Fly-in held at airport

By Bert Lehman

More than 200 attendees helped celebrate Clintonville’s aviation history at a fly-in event July 18 at Clintonville Municipal Airport.

The event, hosted by the city of Clintonville and the Clintonville Chamber of Commerce, also served as a ribbon cutting event for the artwork of local artist Al Mueller.

The artwork, showcasing the history of North Central Airlines in Clintonville, is featured on panels attached to the SRE building at the airport.

City Administrator Caz Muske had told the Clintonville City Council at its July 11 meeting that she expected 50-100 attendees for the fly-in event. As it turned out, that estimate was understated.

“It was overwhelming,” Muske told the Clintonville Tribune-Gazette. “We knew because we are working on our EAA presence we would have more locals versus pilots. However, our community really showed up and supported our little rural-historic airport. Big community wins like this reinforce my ‘why’ of being a public servant leader.”

She added that more than 10 pilots brought their aircrafts to the event.

The Clintonville Area Historical Society was serving free brats and hamburgers, but with the strong attendance, the food did not last the entire event. The historical society raised nearly $800 in donations.

Muske credited the event’s success to the partnerships the city had with local businesses and organizations. She said the city worked with the Clintonville Historical Society, Clintonville Chamber of Commerce, Timeless Touch Photography and Brewed. Ald. Tom Lederer sponsored the band that played at the event.

“I think everyone was as pleasantly surprised as we all were,” Muske said. “It brought a lot of positive attention to our little rural-historic airport and the world of aviation.”

When Mueller’s artwork was unveiled, Muske said those in attendance were impressed with the finished work.

“But the best part was hearing how privileged and proud Al (Mueller) was,” Muske said. “To bring awareness to his talent and love of our community was extremely gratifying.”

With the success of the event, Muske said the city has already tentatively confirmed that the historical society is interested in partnering together for a fly-in event in 2024.

“I am so proud of our community and truly feel when we work together – we can accomplish anything,” Muske said.

Muske said the city continues to work toward establishing an EAA Chapter in Clintonville.

“We are in a ‘preliminary status currently,” Muske said. “Once we receive at least 10 official members we can upgrade our status to an ‘official’ chapter. I am still actively recruiting members. This event was a great opportunity for me to have conversations with interested community members. If anyone from the community has any interest in aviation they are the perfect candidate. For instance, while I am not a pilot, I love aviation. Because I am an EAA Member, I am one of the counts towards our 10-member goal. I encourage anyone to reach out directly to me or one of our Airport Committee members to get involved in the greater EAA and our local efforts to celebrate the spirit of aviation.”

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