The Rocketry Festival
Rooster and I took a ride to the Rocketry Festival to watch people shoot missiles into the sky. It was an explosive adventure. #Muncie #Indiana #Rocketry #Festival #Wheeling Pike #NAR #National Aeromodeling Championship #National Model Aviation Museum
I heard rumors NAR was hosting a Rocketry Festival in Muncie, Indiana. I knew nothing about NAR or what a Rocketry Festival would consist of, but I told Rooster we needed to go. There were two reasons why I thought we’d enjoy the event. It would be entertaining to spend a Saturday afternoon watching people blow things up because part of what I read concerning this festival consisted of a rocket launch competition. I knew Rooster was into stuff like that. I also explained to him the second reason I wanted to go was that he tended to light my fire. The Rocketry Festival turned out to be different than any other event we’d attended all summer.
Rooster and I rode the Dark Horse on some of our favorite country roads under a painted sky to Muncie, Indiana. One of our most prized rides is to head for Gas City on US 22. We turn onto Wheeling Pike and travel it all the way to Muncie. We decided to stop for breakfast in the little community of Greentown.
National Aeromoddoor Modeling Championship
The service was slow because of the county fair and the restaurant’s only waitress working that morning. By the time we got to Muncie, it was early afternoon. We didn’t realize when we turned into the complex where the Rocketry Festival was taking place we would be attending the 2019 National Aeromoddoor Modeling Championship. Imagine that. We only came to watch people blow things up.
When we pulled up to the area where they were launching the rockets, we realized we were catching the last portion of the rocket event. It was also the last day of the festival, which had been going on for the past week. It appears areomodeling is a huge deal across the country. We noticed license plates from New York, Colorado, Florida, and Massachusetts as soon as we parked the motorcycle.
Who knew making models of modern flying machines was such a big deal? It took us a trip around the grounds where the event was taking place before we discovered the spot where the rockets were being launched. The delay at the restaurant meant we got to the festival late. The last of the rockets were being launched by the time we moved to where the crowd of people was gathered to watch the missiles take flight. If we had any idea how exciting it was to watch these models being launched into the sky, we would have skipped breakfast.
Rooster was impressed
Rooster was impressed. Joy sparkled into his blue eyes every time one of the projectiles took off from their perch with a hiss followed by a loud explosion. We stood with our hands covering our eyes as the rocket sailed into the sky. When they reached their pinnacle, a loud boom sounded. The rocket then floated to the ground aided by a parachute.
I want to be honest here. I’m getting a little tired of festivals. They always seem to follow the same format. You have your amusement rides, your food and merchandise vendors, and your music by performing artists looking for a gig where they can make a couple of dollars. The Rocketry Festival had none of those trappings.
Under the blue and white canopies
What Rooster and I found there were blue and white canopies set up on random spots of open Indiana countryside. They reminded me of desert encampments only the terrain was green instead of brown. These canopied areas offered shade to spectators and contestants of the various events taking place throughout the property.
Rooster and I found ourselves surrounded by scientifically minded people who took building these aeromodels as serious business. I overheard one guy giving out his credentials to a couple of people who were standing with him. He boasted of some sort of Ph.D. He said, “Even a person with a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering would know that wouldn’t work.” It was obvious the contestants in the event were very smart and very serious.
Some folks would say
Some folks would say they were engaging in an expensive hobby. To my way of thinking, they were taking part in their passion. I can understand how these models making enthusiasts feel when people diminish this activity they are zealous, which they have dedicated a large portion of their life to create something bigger than themselves.
When I tell people I’m a writer, a sympathetic look sometimes spreads across their faces. Every once in a while the words, “It must be nice to have a hobby,” escape from their lips. I don’t even waste my time trying to explain why sitting at my computer at 6 a.m. constructing a world that didn’t exist before it came into being in my mind is one of the passions which gives my life deeper meaning. Hobby! Yeah, right.
National Model Aviation Museum
he highlight of the Rocketry Festival was our visit to the National Model Aviation Museum. The facility was located at the front of the property and can be viewed from the road. For the price of ten dollars, Rooster and I were given the privilege of touring through the wonderful display of model building artistry.
Viewing the items in the museum was worth the price of admission. I was surprised how far back in our nation’s history building models became an obsession. Early model aviation clubs started to form in 1907 and 1908. It seems the passion developed along with the first airplane. We saw models of planes that rivaled the ones we found at the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Model planes hung from the ceiling. Trophies from past competitions gleamed at us from behind glass display cases. There was an old-fashioned model store like the ones that could be found in the 1960s constructed inside the museum. The National Model Aviation Museum is located at 5151 E. memorial Drive Muncie, Indiana. If you are ever in the area, you should find your way to that location. You won’t be disappointed with the items you discover between the museum’s four walls.
Our visit to the museum was the final stop Rooster and I made at the Rocketry Festival. I would rate this event somewhere at the top of the list of adventures we’ve undertaken this summer. It was a nice break from the elephant ears, amusement rides, and tacky merchandise we’ve found at some of the other festivals we’ve attended. We’ll make certain to arrive at the rocket launching event earlier next year. It was a lot of fun to watch those projectiles take off from the launchpad and explode in the sky.
Who is Molly Shea?
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana, who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures click here.
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