MARLIN, TX — The City of Marlin got flooded with new visitors Saturday who "flew in" for the weekend.
City leaders hope these new visitors might spark a new wave of economic development.
Elijah Robinson got his first plane ride today ever, and even got to fly the plane.
His dad couldn't have been prouder.
"Pretty exciting, pretty exciting, yes sir. That's my son in the front seat, Elijah there," said Marcus Robinson.
The Experimental Aircraft Association of Arlington hosted it's first-ever "fly in" event at the long-neglected Marlin airport.
The chapter president discovered Marlin as he looked for new places for his group to meet.
”I was looking around on google earth and that's how I found this place just watching and scanning around and I go oh, lookie there, there's this little airport with a lake and it's 100 miles away, great distance,” explained Chris Sims, of the EAA Arlington Chapter.
Hundreds of people flew in Saturday, to see Marlin, and hundreds more from town came out to get their first up-close look at aviation.
By most people's estimation, the Marlin airport hasn’t seen this much traffic since LBJ was president.
The pilots found Marlin at a time when city leaders had begun to try to reclaim neglected facilities.
"We just want to make our city shine,” said Mayor Carolyn Lofton.
The city went all out, reclaiming the land around the airstrip, adding parking places, and even making the city lake into a sea-port for planes.
In fact, the EAA and city want to make this a permanent lake landing spot.
”We're hoping to have sea planes land on our lake. There's only two others in the state and we're hoping to be number 3,” said Mayor Lofton.
City leaders hope the hospitality and word-of-mouth will help nudge Marlin ahead in tourism as these folks with healthy incomes come, stay and spend.
The EAA hopes to inspire more young people to earn their wings.
If Elijah Robinson's any indication, the idea's taking off.
”He loves the idea of flying. He hadn't got to fly before, so this is something new so I don't know maybe we'll have a pilot here,” said Marcus, the youngster's dad.
A pilot that can help chart a brighter future for his family and his town.