Skydiving demonstrations planned during festival
PLYMOUTH — This year during the Marshall County Blueberry Festival attendees can expect the fun and excitement to be notched up a bit as special guests will literally be falling from the heavens. Troy Church and Steve Verner, of Plymouth Sky Sports, have big plans to parachute into Centennial Park from the skies above, heightening the bustle and energy of the festival.
Church and Verner intend to give a tandem skydive demonstration Friday, Aug. 31, through Monday, Sept. 3, around 6:30 p.m. each evening. Church, General Manager of Plymouth Sky Sports, states that the main purpose of the performances is to thwart negative misconceptions and apprehensions about the activity. He says PSS is “…always trying to improve the public’s perception of the sport of skydiving.”
Plymouth Sky Sports has been in operation at the Plymouth Municipal Airport since March 2011, with an average of 30 new “jumpers” per week. The staff at PSS is trained to the highest levels and is proficient in skydiving, having made thousands of personal and professional jumps. Church stresses that the sport is taken very seriously and said that safety is the primary focus. While the idea of jumping out of a plane at heights of 10 to 14,000 feet may seem outrageous to a fair percentage of clear minded individuals, Church claims, “…it is not as crazy as people think.”
The preparation PSS must undergo in advance for the Blueberry Festival skydives is extensive. A number of permits had to be obtained from the City of Plymouth, The Blueberry Festival Commission and FAA. The area that Church and Verner intend to land, near the tennis courts in the park – where the hot air balloons launch from each year, has to be surveyed and assessed for potential risks such as wires, trees, poles, etc. Additionally, several practice jumps will be made as a further precaution to identify and eliminate any foreseeable danger.
The possibility of special effects, such as colored smoke, is still being considered by Church and Verner, as they take into account “the added danger a hot canister full of gas, near a polyester parachute, over a mob of people could create.”
A very thorough and professional plan will be in place before the crew of PSS launches into the park filled with thousands of festival fans.
Church and his comrades at PSS whole-heartedly enjoy their chosen profession, even if it appears to be an unusual career path. Church recalls with joy endless stories of life-enhancing experiences people take away from a single leap. At PSS the customers are catered to on an individual basis, encouraging them to relax, trust and enjoy the memorable adventure.
He articulated, “People cannot imagine what to expect. It takes your breath away and it is total freedom, releasing you from all worries during the time you are in the air… (Those who skydive) always leave with a smile on their face.”
Church believes his perspective of a tandem jump is one of the most rewarding parts of his job.
He says, “A day at the office is getting to share another person’s experience with them. I get to feed off of their experience.”
Make sure to look up for Church and Verner of Plymouth Sky Sports dropping in to say “hello” at this year’s Blueberry Festival. Plymouth Sky Sports provides the area with a distinct form of entertainment. They can be found on Facebook or check out the informative website, www.plymouthskysports.com for what to expect.