Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times
                                Andrew Bennett helps his 3-year-old son Kai Bennett to operate an explosive ordnance disposal robot Satuday at the Navy open house.

Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times Andrew Bennett helps his 3-year-old son Kai Bennett to operate an explosive ordnance disposal robot Satuday at the Navy open house.

Navy open house draws fans of all ages to Ault Field

Although the Navy’s presence is always visible around Oak Harbor, both on the ground and in the sky, few residents have the chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at the base.

Hundreds of people jumped on the opportunity Saturday at this year’s open house at Ault Field.

Visitors had the rare opportunity to view and even board P-3C Orion and the new P-8A Poseidon.

The Navy also brought fire engines, drones, a helicopter, an EA-18G Growler and bomb-diffusing robots for the public to enjoy.

“My favorite thing is the helicopter,” said 4-year-old Artcher Fain. “If guys are in the water, they pull them up the rope and get them out of the water. If sharks are going after them, then the helicopter sees them!”

The cool overcast weather didn’t seem to dampen spirits.

The open house kicked off with a 5K run in the morning. Navy personnel also provided guided bus tours, K-9 working dog demonstrations and a musical performance. In addition to military-related activities, there was a bouncy house, climbing wall and variety of vendors and informational tables.

Anastasia Spade said she took her son last year, but this year the almost-3-year-old boy understood more and was more excited about everything he got to see. As Spade spoke, her son Daniel enthusiastically ran around and pointed at the Orion display.

“He is going crazy,” Anastasia said.

Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times
                                Calleigh Bonngard, 3, pokes her head out of a Navy fire engine on display at the base open house Saturday.

Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times Calleigh Bonngard, 3, pokes her head out of a Navy fire engine on display at the base open house Saturday.

Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times
                                Daniel Spade, 2, peers up at a P-3C Orion during this year’s open house Saturday at Ault Field. The event offers a rare opportunity to get an up close look at the aircraft and other equipment used at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times Daniel Spade, 2, peers up at a P-3C Orion during this year’s open house Saturday at Ault Field. The event offers a rare opportunity to get an up close look at the aircraft and other equipment used at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times
                                Master at Arms Second Class Miguel Romero is extracted from his car by Freddy the Dutch Shepherd during a K-9 demonstration Saturday.

Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times Master at Arms Second Class Miguel Romero is extracted from his car by Freddy the Dutch Shepherd during a K-9 demonstration Saturday.

Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times
                                Base commanding officer Capt. Matt Arny talks to 4-year-old Artcher Fain with his parents Keebe and Jerry Fain at the base Saturday.

Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times Base commanding officer Capt. Matt Arny talks to 4-year-old Artcher Fain with his parents Keebe and Jerry Fain at the base Saturday.

Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times
                                Petty Officer Second Class Bruce Roundy of Patrol Squadron 69 answers questions from inside the P-3C Orion during the base open house Saturday.

Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times Petty Officer Second Class Bruce Roundy of Patrol Squadron 69 answers questions from inside the P-3C Orion during the base open house Saturday.

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