Benjamin Franklin, Betsy Ross and Alexander Hamilton (characters…) are getting ready to hand out 13-star Colonial flags and otherwise entertain passengers when Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) welcomes the delegates, party officials, journalists and spectators traveling to the city for the Democratic National Convention (DNC), taking place July 25-28.
“Many of these folks will be traveling by air to Philadelphia for the convention, and the airport will be their first impression of the City. We want to make sure it’s a positive one,” said Airport CEO Chellie Cameron.
Beginning Friday, July 22, airport staff will fan through the terminals to greet and assist delegates. And volunteers from the DNC Host Committee and the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) will be in the baggage claim areas to help convention attendees.
Inside the airport, visitors will be hear The Sound of Philadelphia – a playlist of popular songs by Philadelphia’s own legendary producers and songwriters Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.
In the baggage claim areas on Saturday and Sunday, July 23-24, visitors will be treated to complimentary Philadelphia-centric Tastykakes and soft pretzels while Benjamin Franklin, Betsy Ross, and Alexander Hamilton hand out Colonial flags.
There will be a pop-up movie theater in the B/C bag claim, courtesy of the Bryn Mawr Film Institute and History Making Productions, showing short documentaries about the city’s cultural and innovative history;
Shops and restaurants will have special sales and DNC merchandise for purchase;
The airport’s landscape is getting a tidying up and taxis are being offered a free wash in advance of the convention;
And, to get ready for the departure of attendees on Friday, July 29, the Transportation Security Administration will have extra screeners on duty.
And don’t forget the art:
An exhibition – Philadelphia’s History of Presidential Conventions, 1848-Present (in Terminal A-East) highlights the 12 Presidential conventions the city has hosted. The 11th took place in 2000 when Philadelphia was the site of the Republican National Convention
Attendees at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia later this month will be welcomed at Philadelphia International Airport with a soundtrack featuring Philadelphia-made hits and an exhibition of political pins.
The soundtrack, playing now, features the “Sound of Philadelphia,” a series of songs from Philadelphia’s Grammy award-winning producers and songwriters Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff that became hits for artists such as Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Teddy Pendergrass, the O’Jays Patti LaBelle, the Stylistics and many others.
Gamble and Huff’s well-known songs being heard on the audio system throughout the terminals include I Love Music by the O’Jays, The Love I Lost and If You Don’t Know Me By Now by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Me and Mrs. Jones by Billy Paul, Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now by McFadden and Whitehead, Rubberband Man by the Spinners, and Don’t Leave Me This Way by Thelma Houston.
The exhibition of political pins – post-security in Terminal B – is from the collection of Philadelphian Alfio J. Brindisi, who has been collecting American political memorabilia for nearly 50 years.
The National Park Service turns 100 in August, but festivities marking the milestone are already underway in parks, historic sites and, yes, airports.
Here – and in my recent At the Airport column on USA TODAY – are some airports where you can begin enjoying and learning about some of the nation’s most impressive national parks as soon as you get off the plane.
Forest-themed amenities such a giant sequoia tree in the lobby are the first clue that Fresno Yosemite International Airport is near Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park, and Kings Canyon National Park and a good starting point for the Majestic Mountain Loop , which gets you to all three parks in three days.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, on the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, is just 30 minutes away from McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) in Knoxville. And airport spokesman Jim Evan notes that eight other National Parks and recreation areas are near Knoxville as well and previewed in the baggage claim installation featured in the video below.
To find the only commercial airport IN a National Park, head for Jackson Hole Airport in Wyoming, which is part of Grand Teton National Park — and one of the gateway airports for Yellowstone National Park.
The location in the park is reflected in the airport’s extensive public art collection, amenities that include a Grand Teton Park book shop, and the recently expanded terminal building itself, which won an award from the American Institute of Architects in 2014 for being a “regionally-inspired solution” that “embraces the culture of the area in every way.”
Maybe that’s why last year a moose was spotted hanging around just outside the baggage claim door.
In Kalispell, Mont., Glacier Park International Airport (FCA) is less than a 30-minute car ride from the western gate of Glacier National Park and has rock formations along the entrance roadway and roundabout that pay homage to the Going-to-the-Sun Road, the 50-mile, paved two-lane highway that spans the width of the park and crosses the Continental Divide.
Inside the terminal, there is a 100-photo collection of park images as well as numerous native animal mounts, including a mountain lion that can be spotted over the restrooms and a mountain goat on a ledge in bag claim, “looking just like you’d see him hanging out on a cliff in the park,” says airport manager Cindi Martin.
A store inside the terminal sells park entrance passes, provides park information and offers an interactive map showing recent wildlife sightings, road closures and weather in the park. Exhibits in the terminal highlight park wildlife (including how to spot tracks and safely view animals) and the park’s hydrothermal features, which include geysers, fumaroles, hot springs and mud pots.
With the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park just two miles away (and Old Faithful Geyser 33 miles away), Yellowstone Airport (WYS) claims the title of “Yellowstone National Park’s Local Airport.”
“There’s no more convenient way to get to the park than to come here,” said airport manager Jeff Kadlec.
With a smokejumper base on property and an in-terminal restaurant with bison burgers, Rocky Mountain oysters and a very-popular-with-the-locals lobster bisque on the menu, the airport itself is also somewhat of an attraction.
So are the airport’s original wooden sign, great mountain views and occasional wildlife visitors.
In Las Vegas, McCarran International Airport serves as an aviation gateway to many of the national wonders of the southwest, including Zion National Park and Arches National Park in Utah, and, of course, Grand Canyon National Park.
Some of these and other nearby natural wonders are featured in LAS art installations, most notably Peter Lik’s floor-to-ceiling photos in Terminal 3.
As part of the current national “Find Your Park” campaign, posters throughout Miami International note the airport’s status as a gateway to Big Cypress Preserve and Biscayne and Everglades national parks.
And on July 30, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is kicking off a six-month exhibition in the Terminal 4 Gallery introducing airport visitors to historic and ancient sites, geology and recreational opportunities in Arizona’s 22 national parks and sites.
On display will be historic and ancient objects and images from each park’s collection, including Native American pottery and baskets, trade beads, a fossil of petrified wood from a tree over 200 million years old and a Sportyak boat used for a complete traverse of the Grand Canyon in 1963.
The Wright Brothers National Memorial in North Carolina is on the list of course (first successful sustained flight of a power aircraft and first dedicated airport for airplanes), as is the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park in Ohio (first figure 8, first airborne engine restart, first cargo flight, first airborne engine restart and the first — and only — time the Wright Brothers flew together).
But also on the list is Grand Canyon National Park (first use of an airplane in search and rescue), Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (first airplane to land in a volcano) and many others.
I know I’ve missed some favorites – so feel free to add yours below.
A new exhibit at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport is all about the foods and branded edible items that hail from Minnesota and show up on plates around the world.
Some of the Minnesota-based brands in the exhibit include General Mills Inc.
Land O Lakes Inc, Hormel Foods, RyKrisp and Summit Brewing Company and, in addition to food items, the exhibit includes reels of vintage commercials and their familiar jingles.
The exhibit opened at the end of April and will run through November 15, 2016 in the art gallery near Gate 12.
So far, “the response has been amazing,” said Robyne Robinson, Arts & Culture Director of the MSP Airport Foundation, “It strikes a chord with travelers – They burst into the Spam song from the 1970’s Monty Python sketch, or playfully spar over which cereal was best – Cheerios or Lucky Charms.”
Photos courtesy MSP Airport and and the Minnesota Historical Society
Irrigation crop circles and some of the other images in a new exhibit at Denver International Airport may look familiar to window-seat fliers – but these images of iconic Colorado locations are all taken by satellites.
“The Centennial State from Space”, produced by Westminster, Colo.-based DigitalGlobe and on loan from the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, includes high-resolution satellite images taken from ﬁve diﬀerent satellites positioned more than 400 miles above the Earth.
Look for Coors Field, the Air Force Academy, agricultural fields in Monte Vista and more at Y-Juncture Gallery, located just past the A-bridge security checkpoint along the pedestrian walkway. The gallery will be in place through September.
(All photos courtesy Denver International Airport)