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Festival Of Flight Celebrations Land In Fayetteville

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FAYETTEVILLE — Plans are under way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' historic first flight. Kitty Hawk will not be the only place in North Carolina celebrating the big event in 2003.

The Wright Brothers' amazing achievement will be celebrated May 16 - 26, 2003 in Kitty Hawk. Fayetteville, home to Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base, will celebrate how far aviation has come since then.

NASA, the Smithsonian and other major organizations are working with the Fayetteville Festival of Flight committee for the 11-day celebration.

Fayetteville organizers say just like the Wright Brothers, they have a vision to help the downtown take off.

"I think it will be very large from the standpoint of the diversity of activity that will take place over the 11 days. It's showing aviation history, the military and civilian history," says executive director Gordon Clapp.

As air shows, static displays and art work land in Fayetteville, the Center City will take off.

A high-tech sculpture designed by North Carolina artist Tom Grubb will remain downtown for seven months. After that time, a permanent amphitheatre and promenade will be incorporated into the site.

Organizers believe the festival will have a lasting effect on the community.

"It can actually be Fayetteville's version of the Olympics," says Fayetteville committee member Linda Allan. "I mean, it takes us up to this huge event and leaves us with a permanent, exciting, one-of-a-kind environment that invites everybody in the community."

The Festival of Flight is already getting international attention.The city is expecting and planning for more than one million visitors during the 11-day event.

Capitol Broadcasting Company, the parent company of WRAL-TV, is a major corporate sponsor of the event.

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