Lark of the Lake Festival Takes Off

Posted at: 07/12/2013 9:04 PM | Updated at: 07/12/2013 10:45 PM
By: Travis Dill

The Duluth Aviation Institute kicked off a celebration on Friday for the Lark of Duluth, the world's first commercial airliner in 1914.

Julius Barnes brought the biplane to Duluth 100 years ago, and named it the Lark of Duluth. It eventually went on to become the world's first airliner in Florida a year later.

A group of aviation enthusiasts with the Duluth Aviation Institute built a replica of the plane. The Lark of the Lake Festival at the Sky Harbor Airport celebrates their achievement, and the history of aviation in Duluth.

Builders said the hand-crafted plane was a big effort, but one they were passionate about. John Vanderhorn one example of that was the 8,000 nails they set in the plane. He said it all adds up to more than just a plane for them.

“We kind of think of it as an art form. I know I do. I think this thing is a work of art as much as it is a piece of history and just an amazing piece of aviation,” Vanderhorn said.

Their effort drew a crowd and even Duluth Mayor Don Ness on Friday. The crowd cheered as the mayor dropped in via a skydive.

The event has other aviation highlights and a 1913 costume contest. The festival continues through Sunday.

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