In the Fall of 2002, the City of East Wenatchee invited its Citizens and local Business Owners to join with the City to brainstorm ideas for a city theme. Attendees from those first meetings joined together to form the East Wenatchee Events Board. The City has adopted an official theme commemorating the first non-stop Trans-Pacific flight from Misawa City, Japan to East Wenatchee, Washington, USA, by Clyde Pangborn and Hugh Herndon in October 1931. This October, the City will host its third annual Wings and Wheels Festival which has been the direct result of the Community’s dedicated teamwork utilizing this theme.
WHAT IT IS; WHY IT WAS NEEDED. One of the best known figures in aviation history, remembered for the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, from New York to Paris, on May 20-21, 1927, is Charles Lindbergh. Four years later, however, when a paralleling flight across the Pacific Ocean transpired, less notoriety was attached.
On the morning of October 4, 1931, Clyde Pangborn and Hugh Herndon boarded their single-engine Bellanca monoplane, the Miss Veedol, in Misawa City, Japan; to begin the historic first nonstop Trans-Pacific flight. The Miss Veedol crash landed forty-one hours and thirteen minutes later at Fancher Field, on the heights above East Wenatchee.
Today, local residents, many who are friends and descendants of these two brave aviation pioneers, have joined together with the City of East Wenatchee and other, private groups to commemorate this historic event. Likewise, the citizens of Misawa City, Japan, have taken great pains in their city to recognize Mr. Pangborn and Mr. Herndon.
In 1981, celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the historic flight, a Sister City Agreement was signed between the City of Wenatchee and Misawa City. Over the next twenty years, the cities of Wenatchee, East Wenatchee, and Misawa established a cultural exchange relationship, trading delegations between the three cities. In 2001, as part of the twentieth anniversary of the Sister City Agreement, a new agreement was signed by the three cities officially recognizing the City of East Wenatchee as a partner in the agreement.
The 2001 Sister City agreement was signed by the mayors of all three cities: Mayor Steven C. Lacy, East Wenatchee; Mayor Dennis Johnson, Wenatchee; and Mayor Shigeyoshi Suzuki, Misawa City, Japan; at Executive Flight, Pangborn Memorial Airport, in East Wenatchee.
Every year, delegations visit the other cities as part of a cultural exchange. The delegations include city representatives and students from the three cities, as well as chaperones, and other outstanding citizens. The 2005 Misawa City Delegation will visit during the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival in May 2005 and during the third annual Wings and Wheels Festival in October 2005.
Since the adoption of its city theme, the City of East Wenatchee and its citizens have worked hand-in-hand on many related projects. The Eastmont School District has joined in, promoting East Wenatchee’s unique historical claim. Students participate in activities associated with the Wings and Wheels Festival such as a model airplane building contest. Several junior high students are selected as members of the annual delegation to Misawa City. Local businesses are beginning to capitalize on the city theme for advertising and business themes. The City now boasts a beautiful, serene, and authentic Japanese Garden. The Garden is the result of the efforts of many: gifts and donations from private citizens, civic organizations, and Misawa City citizens. The City of East Wenatchee proudly maintains the Garden in pristine condition.
With the establishment of the East Wenatchee Events Board, which oversees the Wings and Wheels Festival arrangements, among other activities; the City of East Wenatchee and its citizens are moving forward with a plan for East Wenatchee’s future. A desire to share East Wenatchee’s historical significance with the World will aid the City with its tourism-based economic development, revitalization, and growth.
HOW IT OPERATES. After the signing of the 2001 Sister City Agreement, the City of East Wenatchee actively began developing a city theme commemorating the historic Trans-Pacific flight. Beginning with the 2002 Budget, the City Council has earmarked funds for the city theme. The City has purchased banners which are displayed throughout the year inviting citizens and visitors to participate in the Wings and Wheels Festival. City officials, employees, and citizens-at-large are Boardmembers of both the East Wenatchee Events Board and Sister City Association. The Wenatchee Valley Chamber and Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center have also become involved with the promotion of the city theme.
The Spirit of Wenatchee Committee, a local private group dedicated to the building of a replica of the Miss Veedol (which is scheduled to re-enact the historic flight in 2006), has donated a scale model of the Miss Veedol. The model airplane is mounted in the City’s Ballard Park at the northern entrance to the downtown area. In honor of the visiting Misawa City Delegations, the City of East Wenatchee has planted a variety of Japanese Maples. Each year, a tree is dedicated to each member of the Delegation. The construction of the retaining wall supporting the Japanese Maples and the tilling of the ground in preparation of the planting was a Community-wide “Make a Difference Day” project.
A section of the City’s 8th Street NE, bordering the Japanese Garden, has been renamed Misawa Way in honor of the much appreciated contributions from Misawa citizens to the Garden. Additionally, a housing project at Fancher Field is built around a monument commemorating the flight which crash landed in its backyard. Street names such as Miss Veedol Way and Herndon Place commemorate the flight. The airport serving East Wenatchee and the surrounding Community is named Pangborn Memorial Airport.
As a part of the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival, the City of East Wenatchee and the East Wenatchee Events Board host a “Classy Chassis” Parade. Members of the visiting Misawa City Delegation are invited to ride the parade route in vintage automobiles, greeting enthusiastic attendees. T-shirts commemorating the Trans-Pacific flight are sold by the Spirit of Wenatchee Committee during this event.
The third annual Wings and Wheels Festival will be held the first weekend of October 2005. Each year, the festival continues to grow around the city theme. Major events include a family oriented concert, a carnival, food and craft vendors, and a vintage car and motorcycle show. Several aviation related activities will be held at Pangborn Memorial Airport including biplane and hot air balloon rides, and airplane acrobatics shows.
The East Wenatchee City Hall is home to a growing collection of Misawa Sister City related souvenirs. Each year, gifts from the visiting delegation are added to the collection. Visitors to City Hall are impressed with the beauty of the display and many ask for details regarding the sister cities and the historic flight. Beginning in 2002, the city theme has also been incorporated into the City’s final budget document. A city logo, displaying Miss Veedol flying from Misawa City to East Wenatchee on a golden apple background has been officially adopted by the City of East Wenatchee.
WHAT IT COSTS. Since 2002, the City of East Wenatchee has spent approximately $30,000 towards the growing city theme. The 2005 Budget allocates $7,000 to the city theme. The City has been very pleased and grateful to also receive many donations from local merchants and citizens towards the Garden maintenance, delegation welcoming receptions, and “goody bags” for festival participants.
HOW THE CITY THEME BENEFITS THE CITY/COMMUNITY The establishment of a city theme has benefited tourism development in the City of East Wenatchee. As the city theme grows, so will the Wings and Wheels Festival. The City of East Wenatchee and East Wenatchee Events Board hope to continue building the city theme with other yearly events. Locally, students are receiving a neglected history lesson. The City hopes to extend this lesson to others outside of the Community as well. It is indeed time to recognize the tremendous courage and aviation contributions of Mr. Clyde Pangborn and Mr. Hugh Herndon.
Internationally, the City of East Wenatchee will continue to maintain a strong sister city relationship and cultural exchange with Misawa City, Japan; enriching the students and citizens of both Communities. Misawa City presently leads the way in the recognition of the brave aviators with the entire city dedicated to the memory of the flight. As the city theme continues to grow, the City of East Wenatchee hopes to mirror Misawa’s efforts and to at long last recognize these two incredible men while drawing its Citizens together in a common goal and promoting tourism in the City of East Wenatchee.
Linda J. Countryman, City Treasurer (entry composition)
Teresa Allen, Executive Secretary to the Mayor (photographs and information)
Jeff Morrison, Code Compliance Officer (photographs)