Area residents invited to French sister city celebration


World War II-era vehicles will be on display this summer in front of the town's castle during Noirmoutier's "Wings of Victory" celebration.

BRIAN HUGHES | News Bulletin
Published: Monday, January 28, 2013 at 10:23 AM.

CRESTVIEW — Europe's last operational B-17 "Flying Fortress" will roar over the beaches of Noirmoutier, Crestview's sister city, as the island community pays homage to a similar bomber's crew members who crash-landed there in July 1943.

A contingent from Crestview will be among the beach crowd.

The B-17's flyover and a pair of World War II escorts, a C-47 Dakota and a P-51 Mustang, are part of a weeklong "Wings of Victory" celebration being organized by the Noirmoutier Vintage Vehicles Association and the island's sister city committee.

Planned events include a Family Day at the Airbus factory in nearby Saint Nazaire, target of the American bombing run during that ill-fated B-17 flight. The aircraft to fly over the island will be on display during the Airbus event. Saint Nazaire is also home to a massive German World War II U-boat pen complex, a visit to which is also included.

La Guériniere village will recreate a war-era community complete with re-enactors portraying villagers, French Underground members and German occupation troops. A large-scale parade and exhibit of war-era vehicles will fill the square at the Noirmoutier castle. Visitors will feast on gala meals and hear a free concert with dancing by a local swing band.

Crestview Sister City committee organizers said their French counterparts assure Okaloosa County visitors have a memorable experience.

"You will have ample time to explore the magical island, shop in its many charming boutiques and markets, perhaps loll on the lovely beaches, and immerse yourself in the culture of your hosts — including all that world-class cuisine!" the committee's informational material states.

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