formerly "The View From Up Here"

Formerly titled "The View From Up Here" this column began in the Liberty Gazette June 26, 2007.

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December 6, 2011 Balloon Glow and Christmas at the Old Fort

The Liberty Gazette
December 6, 2011
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Mike: In Groesbeck Texas, 35 air miles east of Waco, adjacent to historic Old Fort Parker, is a new airfield. Dedicated to antique, vintage, classic and rare aircraft, privately owned Fort Parker Flying Field currently stands 2000’ x 74’ with plans to extend the grass runway to 2,700’. Attendance was higher than expected at the Field’s first fly-in, Old Planes At The Old Fort, held October 1st. The next event, a Christmas Balloon Glow, is this Saturday, December 10. The beauty of it is you don’t have to fly to be a part of it! This weekend, December 10-11, (weather permitting, of course) you are invited to enjoy Christmas At The Old Fort.

Linda: Texas history comes to life at this stockade fort that played a unique role in the settlement of our state. A 19th century timeline of entertainers and artisans will demonstrate Texas’ early history, and historic era reproduction Christmas gifts will be available to purchase. The living history timeline will span from the 1820s buck skinners to the 1890s cavalry, soldiers, and cowboy gunfighters. In addition to homestead and camp life demonstrations, artisans will demonstrate glass blowing, blacksmithing, knife making, woodcarving, pioneer cooking, flint knapping, cornhusk doll making, beading, crocheting, spinning, weaving, and soap making. Live entertainment will include Indian pow-wow dancers, gunfighter skits, storytellers, soldiers, dulcimer music, flute music and rendezvous games and skills.

New this year will be a Colonial period camp and demonstration of Confederate women’s lives. There will also be animals to pet, wagon rides, and of course, Santa.

Also new this year is the aforementioned Balloon Glow with tethered rides sponsored by Nadine’s of Groesbeck as well as a fly-in of vintage planes. If you can safely get your airplane on to a 2,000’ strip with 50’ trees on one end, you are welcome. Or just drive in!

Mike: Going by air? Darius Farmer is the official Chaos Supervisor and hired killer (usually just gophers, snakes, wild hogs and such, but do not press your luck). If you plan to fly in, call him at 254-747-0592. Pilots: the Field is located 31 33’ 54” North - 96 32’ 46” West, 4.7 nm south of the Mexia-Limestone County Airport, 1.2 nm along the 170 radial of GNL (Groesbeck) VOR, 2.5 nm north of the town of Groesbeck. It’s Bermuda turf (raked and rolled) with 2’x2’ white runway markers each 100’. The 50’ trees are on approach to 17. Normal traffic pattern is on the west side of the runway only. The Flying Field asks pilots to be considerate of residents on the north and east sides. Field elevation is 500’, pattern altitude 1300’ recommended maximum. Use 122.8 (Mexia KLXY), call sign “Old Fort” or “Fort Parker” traffic.

Ground-bound? Take Hwy 14 between Mexia and Groesbeck, turn on to Park Road 35 at “Old Fort Restoration” sign. Drive one mile to 866 Park Road 35, Groesbeck, 76642. You can’t really get lost in a town this size.

Linda: There will be food booths and lots of shopping opportunities. General admission is $5 adults and $2 children, with modest fees for overnighters and traders/vendors. Camping spots are available, as well as teepee camping, showers, bunkhouse rooms with shower access, a two bedroom house, RV parking with hook-ups, kitchen-dining facility for groups, and wireless internet in Fort headquarters. Contact them at (254)729-5253 or email

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