Keystone Heights Airport celebrates 80 years while looking to future

By Natalie Gilstrap For Clay Today
Posted 12/7/22

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – Keystone Heights Airport recently held its 80th anniversary with a day-long celebration.

Eighty years and to think at one point nobody wanted this airport. They couldn’t …

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Keystone Heights Airport celebrates 80 years while looking to future

Posted

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – Keystone Heights Airport recently held its 80th anniversary with a day-long celebration.

Eighty years and to think at one point nobody wanted this airport. They couldn’t give it away and the city stepped in and said ‘Well, we’ll take it even though it isn’t in the city limits. We’ll take it. We love it.’ And so it’s been in our care since then,” Keystone Heights Mayor Karen Lake said.

The event started with the U.S. flag arriving with a skydiver from Skydive Palatka. The Keystone Heights JROTC then presented the flag and Steven Quinn sang the National Anthem.

Maria Searcy, the Airport Manager, thanked everyone who contributed to the event’s success. Afterward, visitors and families toured the airport enjoying the many attractions, such as a vintage car show, helicopters and vintage military aircraft. Visitors also were allowed to tour a P3 Plane, learn more about aviation through the information booths and look at historic military weaponry provided by the Camp Blanding Museum. Santa Claus made an appearance and children were offered free plane rides. Lastly, vendors, food trucks, and music were at the airport.

Overall the celebration was a success as more than 3,000 people attended.

“I think it’s wonderful. It’s great to recognize the veterans and carry on what they did, flying the planes, and keeping them restored. It’s just great. I love it,” visitor Wanda said.

Community leaders were delighted.

“It is a great turnout,” said County Commissioner Betsy Condon. “Everybody is so excited to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Keystone Heights Airport. It is vital to our community and has been for eighty years.”

Officials with the airport thanked the volunteers and visitors.

“The event could not have been possible if it were not for all our sponsors, hard-working volunteers and employees,” Searcy said.

The World War II airfield was built in 1942 as a support field for Camp Blanding, and it was home to the AAFSAT Strategic Reconnaissance School. It was an active airfield until 1945, and in 1947 it was deeded over to the city.

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