MARATHON, FL – Nearly 1,000 people, including Monroe County Mayor David Rice, attended the Florida Keys Marathon International Airport's 75th Anniversary celebration on Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Marathon General Aviation ramp.
"This was a great day for the Marathon Airport,” said T.J. Henderson, Monroe County Assistant Airports Director. “Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate our history. I also would like to thank our planning committee and all the people who volunteered their time and resources to make this a successful and fun event."
The family-friendly celebration included historical aircraft, vintage military vehicles, Farmer Jeannie and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office petting zoo animals, entertaining dance routines from the children of Body Language Studio, food from Irie Eats, music by Stirling Schroeder and the Bluewater Prime band and a video of historical Marathon airport photos.
“I came down here from Palm Beach to share my love of airplanes with my grandson, and we’re both have a great time,” said Ronald Stillwell, who brought 7-year-old Landon Carter Stillwell. Both were dressed in aviator gear.
The Florida Keys Marathon International Airport opened in 1943. It was built by the U.S. Navy as an auxiliary airfield for Naval Air Station Key West. It was deactivated as a military facility at the end of World War II and transferred to the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners for use as a civilian airport.
For most of its existence, the County owned-and-operated airport has been a general aviation facility. It also has had scheduled passenger airline service for more than 25 years in the past.
On April 20, 2016, for the first time in approximately three decades, U.S. Customs and Immigration service became available at the airport with the completion of a new 4,200-sq-ft permanent U.S.Customs and Border Protection facility located in the former commercial terminal.
Marathon Airport also served an important role during the Screwworm outbreak in 2016 where sterilized mosquitoes arrived from Panama and during the response to Hurricane Irma in 2017.