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Chapter 1397 Plays AirVenture Highlights at Local Theater

By Mark Cook, EAA 1194179, EAA Chapter 1397 Treasurer

February 2017 - On January 14, EAA Chapter 1397 hosted a big-screen showing of 2016 Oshkosh AirVenture highlights. The matinee was free for all attendees. Approximately 200 aviation enthusiasts — young and old, mothers and daughters, grandparents and grandkids, and families — braved the Minnesota cold to see aircraft on the big screen. CEC Theatres provided the viewing space for a small cost.

The idea for this event started during an EAA Chapter 1397 monthly meeting in Bemidji, Minnesota. A member suggested getting the 2016 AirVenture Blu-ray Disc or DVD to show in the local theater. All chapter members agreed it would be a fantastic way to advertise EAA, AirVenture, our local EAA chapter, and several local aviation companies to the public.

Chapter 1397 member Dave Quam, EAA 127245, who also is the founder of the Seaplane Pilots Association and retired from broadcasting, was the key chapter member behind the scenes. Dave ordered the Blu-ray from EAA, as he knew the local theater was equipped to project it. (It’s important to check whether your local theater can use DVD or Blu-ray.)

Dave’s next step was to advertise the free showing of the video. He developed a public service announcement on his home computer. In total, 76 commercials and promotional videos aired on local TV stations leading up to the event. Additional advertising included newspaper ads, an advertisement in the local university magazine, and posters that were displayed at local restaurants and at the movie theater.

Two local aviation companies, Bemidji Aviation Services, Inc. and Aircorps Aviation, as well as the local Cadet Squadron of Civil Air Patrol, stepped forward to assist Chapter 1397 with this event. EAA Chapter 1397 and all three participating organizations set up display tables in the theater lobby, with numerous door prizes given away to attendees. Bemidji Aviation provided discovery flights, Chapter 1397 had sign-ups for Young Eagles flights, and Aircorps Aviation provided hats, T-shirts, and books. Dave was able to affix promotional spots to the video, so all organizations involved were recognized for their efforts.

By 10 a.m., the theater filled to standing room only and popcorn sales were brisk. As the movie played on, the video looked great on the 50-foot big screen and included the awesome sound only a large speaker system can provide.

This was a fantastic promotional event for not only EAA Chapter 1397, but also the entire Bemidji aviation community. We suggest other EAA chapters consider showing the AirVenture highlight video at their local theaters. With minimal effort, it’s a great promotional event for the EAA, your chapter, and the entire aviation community!

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