‘Airstreamers’ Bringing Camping to City Streets
In Kirk MacKellar’s experience, Airstream travel trailers usually make an impression. The Dimondale, Mich., resident has owned one of the iconic recreation vehicles – known for their airplane fuselagelike design and aluminum exterior – for nine years.
The Lansing State Journal reported that three years ago, MacKellar and fellow Airstream traveler Chad Carlson of Grand Rapids decided to do a bit of “urban camping,” in downtown Rockford, Ill. Their presence drew a crowd. “We had so many people coming up to our trailers. We didn’t expect that but it was a great draw.”
So last October the two men teamed up to plan an event inspired by that experience. “Urban Air,” brought 33 of the airstream trailers to Eaton Rapids’ downtown. Trailer owners parked along Main Street and opened their vehicles up to anyone who wanted a look inside. Meanwhile the out-of-town visitors camped, shopped and networked with one another.
“You’re lucky to see one but to see this many all together is a kind of rarity,” said MacKellar, of the first-time event.
This year “Urban Air” will descend on Eaton Rapids again – and it is expected to have triple the number of participants, with at least 100 Airstreamers expected to be there Oct. 10-13. About 40 will line the sides of Main Street with the remainder camping at Howe Field, a block west of the city’s downtown.
The event offers a diverse crowd. Airstream owners from all over the country and from Canada will be taking part. In addition, a full schedule of events is planned – including nightly music performances, movies, group dinners and tours of the trailers.
MacKellar said the group is now an official nonprofit. The effort, entitled “Urban Air…Wake Up Downtown,” is focused on breathing life into small, historical downtowns and at the same time providing Airstream hobbyists the opportunity to network and socialize.
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