As the C54 Spirit of America came in low over the trees at the Dare County Regional Airport, anticipation on the ground grew. Would this be the pass when the Candy Bomber dropped its load.
The first pass, just a few parachutes with candy attached floated to the ground, as the flight crew assessed the wind.
But the next pass, a few hundred small white parachutes with the dark wrapping of a Hershey’s Chocolate bar fluttered from the four-engined aircraft.
And the next pass, the same thing happened.
The annual December visit from the Candy Bomber has become a wonderful part of the Outer Banks Christmas tradition. According to event organizers this is the 21st visit to the area.
What seems to make the Outer Banks Candy Bomber tradition so special is the original Candy Bomber, Colonel Gail Halvorsen, now 99 years old, makes the trip almost every year.
During the Berlin Airlift, 1948-1949, then Lt. Halvorsen took to dropping candy for the children of Berlin. At the time, West Berlin was sealed off from the rest of western Europe and the United States by the USSR, what is now Russia.
The only way to get supplies to the city was by air, and Halvorsen and his fellow American and British pilots flew up to three times a day, day in and day out to keep the city alive.
Halvorsen, seeing that the children had no treats or candy, took to dropping candy with small parachutes attached as he flew over the city. Soon other pilots joined in.
The Outer Banks Candy Bomber is a wonderful reenactment of that act of generosity.
Take some time to learn about what a special place the Outer Banks is. Stay with us at Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates for a week or two.