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Airshow Saturday offers glimpse of WWII museum in the works in Granite Falls

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GRANITE FALLS -- While this weekend's airshow is expected to bring thousands of visitors to the Granite Falls Municipal Airport, it's likely only the beginning in terms of people making this site a destination.

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The Fagen Fighters WWII Museum will open this fall to permanently remember and honor those who served. The museum is sure to attract thousands of visitors in the years ahead.

The museum will include two hangars, a WWII Quonset hut and WWII control tower.

The new, 15,000 square foot hanger will be a brick, tornado proof structure.

The museum will bring visitors back to the era of WWII. Its aviation collection is already world-renowned and includes two P-51 D Mustangs, a Lockheed P-38, a P-40, a BT-13, a PT-19, a PT-22, and a PT-26.

It will also feature fully operational, authentic WWII ground vehicles. A rare WACO CG-4A glider used to send fighters behind enemy line will also be displayed.

The museum will also feature works by acclaimed artist Dave Reiser and renowned sculptor Fred Hoppe Jr. The sculptor hopes to unveil his work during the air show.

Reiser is creating a mural depicting Utah Beach during the D-Day Allied Invasion of Normandy, France.

Hoppe is creating a bronze sculpture of the Army's 4th Infantry's soldiers prepared for combat as they land in a Higgins' boat bringing the Ivy Division's motto "Steadfast and Loyal'' to life.

The 357th Fighter Group of the Army Air Corp's 8th Air Force is represented by the museum's Quonset hut and control tower. Authentic artifacts are used throughout the briefing room depicting Leiston Airfield in England as well as authentic controls in the control tower.

A bronze of legendary Col. Clarence E. ''Bud'' Anderson, a triple-act fighter pilot completes the scene.

A library overlooking the museum's first floor will contain an extensive collection of WWII books and documents. Touch screens will offer visitors an interactive experience. Authentic uniforms and artifacts will be displayed throughout.

-- Information provided by Fagen Fighters WWII Museum

'Planes & Songs' airshow Saturday

GRANITE FALLS --The Ray A Fagen Memorial Airshow, "Planes and Songs" will open at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Lenzen-Roe Memorial Airport in Granite Falls.

A ground battle reenactment will begin at 1 p.m. by members of the WWII Historical Re-enactment Society, Inc. or a recognized re-enactment society. HRS authenticity and safety standards will be enforced. It will be followed by an air show at 3 p.m. with performances by AeroShell Aerobatic team, local performers Ron Fagen and Evan Fagen each piloting a P40 and a P51 and Rob Ator piloting a P38, a demonstration by the Liberty Jump Team jumping from the Cavanaugh Flight Museum C-47 and bombing runs with live pyro.

Aaron Tippin and his band will perform directly after the airshow with Willmar natives Ty and Mandi (Holien) Hippe as the opening act. There will be restrooms provided on-site. Food and drink are available for purchase during the entire event. There will be limited bleacher seating available. Bringing your own chair is suggested along with usual summer items like sunscreen and bug repellent. Ear plugs are also recommended.

Shuttles are available from Prairies Edge Casino parking lot as there is limited parking available at the airshow

Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for ages 9 through 17, children 8 and under are admitted free. In the event of rain, the airshow will be moved to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Aaron Tippin will perform Saturday, rain or shine.

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Tom Cherveny
Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
(320) 214-4335
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