Sunday, November 1, 2009

Atlantic Ciry Air Show Rocks the Beach

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - Windows rattled along the boardwalk as the sky came to life with Raptors, Super Hornets and Fighting Falcons, filling the sky over the ocean surf, bringing the thunder to Atlantic City.

The daylong 2009 air show, sponsored by Borgata Casino, delivered on its theme: "Thunder Over the Boardwalk." Aircraft from WWII through the nation's most modern F-22 Raptor roared just over the water in front of an estimated 750,000 spectators.

Traffic moving into Atlantic City continued throughout the event, with cars and buses still streaming to the beach as the airshow was winding down. The heat and crowds was a boon to boardwalk businesses as sales of water skyrocketed. Not only was the beach packed with people of all ages, the ocean had its own flotilla of sky watchers. The famed U.S. Air Force Thunderbird's did their exceptional crowd pleasing precision flying along the beach. All eyes were to the sky, except for a few youngsters busily putting the finishing touches on their sand castle, as the Thunderbirds closed out the show.

The U.S. Air Force also flew their traditional Heritage Flight, which began in 1997 to commemorate their 50th anniversary. The tradition continues, as it began, with the most recent jet fighters flying in close formation with earlier era warcraft, like the P-51 Mustang. At this event the demonstration included an F-16 Fighting Falcon, an A-10 Thunderbolt (often called a wart hog), and two P-51 Mustangs. The Navy had their own Legacy Flight with and FA/18F & F4U Corsair.

In addition to the military presence, there were a number of civilian demonstrations and aerobatic teams on the program. Jim Beasley, a Philadelphia lawyer, is lead pilot for the three WWII Mustang team called the Horsemen, put on an dazzling show as did the Red Eagle Air Sports team.

If you love crowds, and the roaring sounds of freedom flying overhead then mark your calendar for next year at Atlantic City, or plan on attending the Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show in Virginia Beach October 17 and 18. The Blue Angels will be featured. As for me, next year I plan to stay overnight to avoid the traffic.

Thousands Line Up for National Book Festival

Tens of thousands book-lovers walked the National Mall, between the Capitol and the Washington Monument, to hear from their favorite authors today. Even with threatening clouds, and a few raindrops, the crowds kept streaming into the 2009 National Book Festival for a number of activities. The Library of Congress Pavilion featured interactive family-centered activities about the importance of lifelong literacy, cultural preservation, and preserving digital media. The crowds attending the event were estimated at 130,000, according to the Library of Congress. Included in that count were the thousands of children who thrilled to see their favorite characters like Clifford, the Big Red Dog, Arthur, Curious George and others who were on hand to greet them.

This is the ninth year for the festival that features the nation's bestselling authors, like John Grisham, James Patterson, Judy Blume, Nicholas Sparks and Annette Gordon-Reed. The Librarian of Congress, Dr. James H. Billington kicked off the event with an official opening and presentation of the National Book Festival Creative Achievement Award to John Grisham.

Following the opening the book sellers were in full swing with huge lines to buy the latest releases, and past favorites. After waiting to buy the books thousands lined up at various tents where the authors would autograph their books. The wait was often hours long but that didn't deter these fans. In other pavilions authors talked about their works, ideas and favorite characters. A panel presentation with children's authors, Jon Scieszka, Mary Brigid Barrett, Kate DiCamillo, Nikki Grimes, Shannon Hale, Steve Kellogg and Megan McDonald lasted over an hour to a packed audience.

This festival brings together authors with millions, sometimes hundreds of millions, of books in prints, with a virtual who's who of awards. The quality of their work is represented in the number and variety of awards and recognition bestowed. The awards include everything from the Pulitzer, National Book Club awards, Edgar Awards, Newbery Awards and National Book Critics Circle awards to those nominated for Emmy's or Academy Awards when their book was made for television of the big screen.

Throughout the day interviews were broadcast on Book TV, podcast from facebook and even twitter updates. Podcasts will be available from the Library of Congress website or for free on iTunes. You can download the 2009 National Book Festival poster, illustrated by noted author/artist Charles Santore of Philadelphia from several areas on the Library of Congress website. Santore is the written and illustrated "The Silk Princess," "The Three Hungry Pigs" and "The Wolf Who Came to Diner. The poster was a favorite with thousands of them given away at the festival.

One of the popular pavilions was hosted by Target Corporation, one of the event sponsors, as they gave out canvas bags to waiting crowds. Inside their tent was Bullseye, the popular miniature bull terrier mascot, posing with children. Honorary Chairs for this event are President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.

The Revolution Comes to Jerusalem Mill Village

Historic Jerusalem Mill Village, in Maryland, hosted hundreds of re-enactors in a battle between Continental soldiers and the British Redcoats on Oct 10-11, 2009. The battle pitted over a hundred soldiers against each other in a mock attack, with cavalry, cannon and rifles, in a battle that never happened. This part of Maryland didn't see any battles during the revolution but the village is a historic area dating back to the revolution era. The Jerusalem gristmill opened in 1772 and operated continuously until 1961, the oldest, most intact mill village in Maryland.

The participants arrived as early as Thursday to set up camp and begin living, like the people they portray, did over 230 years ago. Most of the participants, from neighboring states and some even further, joined reenactment groups to recreate the life and times of either the Crown or the Patriots. They strive to demonstrate the correct behavior and bearing of the soldiers, officers, wives and camp followers, of a time long ago. The participants research the individuals they portray, study the battles, the dress and weapons that were used. Also at the camp were many artisans selling material and wares that are recreations or actual historic pieces.

With colorful and historic names like "His Majesty's 40th Regiment of Foot", "The 17th Light Dragoons" or the "Royal Highland Emigrants", the assembled groups came together to give visitors a glimpse of what life might have been like during the founding of the country. The participants are members of either The Continental Line, Inc. or The British Brigade, Inc., both national volunteer organizations dedicated to the memories of the soldiers they portray.

The host for "The Redcoats are Coming" weekend are the Friends of Jerusalem Mill, in cooperation with the staff of Gunpowder Falls State Park, and is made possible, in part, by grants from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Harford County Government through the Harford County Cultural Arts Board.