Every May, Talkeetna is the center of Alaska's aviation world, as the Talkeetna Fly-In takes place, attracting pilots and unique planes from around the state for a weekend of fun and events.
The Talkeetna Fly-In's slogan is "Honoring the past, celebrating the future," and that is fitting. Aviation has a rich history in Talkeetna, from Bush pilot legends like the Hudsons and Sheldons. Today, it's a hub of aviation as air taxis service climbers to Denali and flight tours in the Alaska Range.
Pilots fly into Talkeetna from around the state and camp right at the airport. The scene is amazing, as more than 100 planes of every imaginable - and even unimaginable - type fill the area near the runway. The planes themselves are an attraction, as you can see the latest and greatest planes, antique planes and even concept planes you can't find anywhere else.
The event officially kicks off Saturday with a poker run of sorts - pilots fly to Talkeetna and stop at airports along the way to collect cards to make a poker hand. At 1 p.m. on Saturday, there is a gross weight flying contest, followed by an aerial scavenger hunt. There are kids events such as a balsa wood flying contest and unicycle races as well.
On Sunday, Talkeetna Roadhouse shows up for a free pancake breakfast that is always a favorite. At 11 a.m. Sunday, the missing man formation flight honors those who have lost their lives in aviation. The moving ceremony features planes flying in formation overhead of the airport. At 11:30 a.m. Sunday is a takeoff and landing demonstration, followed by guest speaker Carl Thomas. The fly-in concludes with an awards ceremony at 2 p.m.