|Have you ever received a personal invitation
in the mail for a fly-in, then flown there on the appointed day to land
on a flawless paved runway in the middle of a lovely park alongside a beautiful
river? Could be.
Where a golf cart with a Ďfollow meí sign awaits you at the runway turnoff to lead you to your reserved parking spot under the trees on a perfectly groomed lawn? Possibly.
Where the host of the gathering is there to greet you with a cup of hot coffee as you get out of your airplane? Perhaps. Where before you can finish your coffee, you are given a pin-on name tag, professionally printed on the spot with your name and airplaneís registration on it. Probably not.
Where the luncheon was offered without any charge and included heaps of barbecued chicken just off the fire, freshly baked rolls, garden fresh salads, a fruit bowl that would put the Ritz to shame, and mountains of strawberry shortcake to die for? Not a chance - unless you attended George and Irma Jacksonís 1st Iroquois Challenger Day on July 5th.
Put simply, this was a 5 star fly-in! All the Challenger owners and others who attended were unanimous that nowhere in their collective experience had anyone seen another fly-in to compare. Thatís not to say that there arenít a lot of great fly-ins out there. Itís simply to say that this was clearly a cut above the rest.
About a dozen Challengers arrived from all directions, on wheels and amphibious floats. Wind and weather on the two preceding days limited long distance attendees although Bryan Quickmire and Rick Scott flew about 250 miles from the Georgian Bay area on the morning of the event. As well, Jean-Marc Côté, Maurice Vinet and Christian Corbeil flew in from Mont Tremblant in the Quebec Laurentians.
While the entire Jackson family put considerable effort and expense into making Challenger Day Ď97 a big success, the setting also played a significant role. Iroquois is a delightful community of about 1,200 nestled along the St. Lawrence River between Cornwall and Brockville, just a few miles west of historic Upper Canada Village. What makes it particularly appealing is the large and lovely park along the waterfront, which offers many diversions including a 2,000 foot paved runway! This is an air-minded community.
Land, park your plane (a dock services float planes) and a short walk brings you to the beach (complete with showers and changing facilities) which has protected waters for swimming, boating, canoeing or kayaking. Thereís a lovely and spacious full facility camping area where you can tent under the wing, a marina with good fishing, a viewing area to see the giant freighters pass through the Iroquois locks of the St. Lawrence Seaway, an eighteen hole water front golf course, plus an excellent nearby restaurant, motel and shopping plaza.
One thing is certain: there arenít very many communities with all the attributes of Iroquois, and fewer still with families like the Jacksons who put so much effort into making everyone welcome. If you have the opportunity to attend another Iroquois Challenger day in the future, donít miss it!
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