Hops and Props Beerfest

If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and haven’t visited Fort Worth Aviation Museum, you’re really missing something! But worry not; the museum has something exciting to offer you this month. On the 29th, Hops and Props Beerfest is happening, and the preparations are in full swing!

“We have sixteen brewers lined up and nearly 50 Veteran Support Organizations and other vendors ready to participate. Each of these festivals has gotten bigger and provided more support for the museum, and this one should be our biggest one yet,” said Jim Hodgson, the Executive Director of Fort Worth Aviation Museum.

Hops & Props event is the museum’s primary fundraiser, which is organized annually. The 8th edition happening in the last week of April is unique for many reasons. The museum is introducing drone flying at the event.

“Aerospace company Lockheed Martin is returning with their flight simulators, but new this year is our Drone Zone, sponsored by Ben E. Keith. Visitors will be able to see drone demonstrations and even fly them,” Jim mentioned. “The drones are fun and easy to fly. If the weather is right, we will fly out of doors in a cage to keep them from getting away.”

Hops and Props is a family-friendly fun fest with plenty to do and see, even for people who don’t drink beer. There will be live music, food, exhibits, flight simulators, a re-enactors military encampment, and much more.

Fort Worth Aviation Museum was founded in 1998 with the motive to celebrate and showcase the people and aviation accomplishments of North Texas in a museum. It is a science center that preserves and displays our heritage, educates the communities, and inspires young people to stay in school and achieve their full potential.

Every year, thousands of youths and adults visit the heritage to witness the glory of aviation history. The museum, which features 32 warbirds, has inspired young people toward careers in aviation and aerospace. Focusing on the core values of Inspiration, Education, and Preservation, Fort Worth Aviation continues to thrive on the mission of giving wings to youth and community through our aviation roots.

“In the first years, we started small and felt our way along. We knew we needed to hold some annual event and couldn’t afford a gala or even didn’t have a place to do one,” Jim stated. “So we decided on an outdoor event, started slowly, and built it up each year. We have grown along with the event. Our airplane collection has grown, and we’ve survived COVID.”

Other than the annual fundraiser Hops and Props, several programs are happening throughout the year – Halloween, car shows, reunions, STEM programs, pictures with Santa, summer and Spring Break programs, and almost something every month.

The annual fundraising program is the most important occasion for the museum as it relies on up to 50% of its expenses being covered by donations. While funding remains a challenge to run the space smoothly, the team appreciates the support from local people and businesses.
“We work for every dollar that comes in, and with our planned expansion taking shape, fundraising is taking on a whole new importance,” Jim expressed.

Jim is one of the founders of the Fort Worth Aviation Museum. He is a retired pilot and has been operating the museum since 1998. His regular days are spent in the museum, and he doesn’t get tired of it. What motivates him every day? “The trust and confidence people have placed in me to lead this organization for one thing. I don’t want to let them down. Aviation has been very good to me and is a wonderful motivator for young people. It’s payback,” he shared.

“I was asked once how much time I devote to the museum, and after a brief pondering relied on all of it. It can get long and stressful at times, but it all seems worth it when I see an old military friend reunite after decades or see the glimmer in a child’s eye seeing the magic of flight.”

Jim is one of those seven who started the Fort Worth Aviation Museum. The initial days were challenging, and it took a lot for them to establish the organization. They began collecting airplanes and broadened their scope. They even outgrew the original location and moved, but still, the following they wanted didn’t materialize.

“As we grew, we became aware of the rich local aviation history here and realized no organization was concentrating its efforts on preserving or teaching that. So, in 2014 we rebranded as the Fort Worth Aviation Museum and have never looked back,” Jim recalls. “We still tell those early stories of Forward Air Control and the oV-10 Bronco, but we own the North Texas aviation history stories.”

Jim looks forward to seeing you all on the 29th.

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