It’s 1942 all over again at Minter Air Museum’s Wings ‘n’ Wheels event Saturday

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET)  — Saturday will be a special day for a special place. The Minter Air Museum at Highway 99 and Lerdo Highway will be celebrating its fourth Wings ‘N’ Wheels celebration in this, the 80th anniversary year of its 1941 founding.

It’s the fourth annual celebration of the little country air field’s outsized role in defending democracy and a celebration of aviation in general. 

“We’re gonna have airplanes,” said Ronald Pierce, board chairman of the Minter Air Museum. “We’re gonna have cars, we’re gonna have tractors, we’re gonna have Big Band playing ‘40s music, we’re gonna have food, drink, we’ll have something for everyone.”

And it’s for a good cause. Minter Field, which is adjacent to the Shafter Airport, just a half-mile west of the 99 freeway, subsists on private donations and an all-volunteer staff. So Wings ‘N’ Wheels is huge for them.

“This is a fundraiser for Minter Field Air Museum,” Pierce said. “This is what keeps us open for you to come out and enjoy history.”

And what a history it is. Minter Field, which opened in 1941, eight months before the U.S. entered World War II,  was built under the Defense Landing Area Program for the U.S. Army as a flight training center. Some 7,000 personnel were stationed here — a city within itself — training, living and recreating.

And, for the fourth consecutive year, it will be commemorating its role in the war.

“Kern County should be proud of the contribution that they did in World War II,” Pierce said. “Right here, on Minter Field, we graduated over 11,000 cadets to go fly in World War II and give their all.”

Aircraft of many sizes and shapes were already arriving Friday morning. Aircraft like a Russian-built single engine bi-plane, the largest of its type in the world. There will be human celebrities too: sisters Lucie and Cayenne Gutierrez, two teens from Bakersfield, who are building their own parasol monoplane from a 1929 design.

Admission price is $10, first responders and veterans are $5,and children under 12 are free, and parking is free. Gates open at 9 a.m.

It’s all quiet on the western front right now, but come Saturday, it will be 1942 again all over Minter Field.

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