It’s been a half-century since President Kennedy rededicated Orchard Field as O’Hare International Airport on March 23, 1963. In recognition of this historic occasion the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), together with its airport partners, has announced the launch of a week-long series of special events and perks for employees and passengers kicking off March 23 through March 29, 2013.
In addition, complimentary 50th anniversary ink pens will be available at retail locations and airport concessions will be offering discounts and specialty items.
Below is the schedule of events:
Saturday, March 23
O’Hare welcomes airberlin, offering the first non-stop air service between Chicago and Berlin with an inaugural flight into O’Hare. From 2 to 5 p.m. all terminals will feature a variety of live music entertainment.
Monday, March 25
Military Appreciation Day. O’Hare honors all those who serve or have served in the military. The United Service Organizations of Illinois (USO) will staff tables in the domestic terminals where passengers can learn more about O’Hare’s two USO centers for military personnel and their families. From 2 to 5 p.m., a military band will perform in Terminal 2 and a variety of live music entertainment will be featured in other terminals.
Tuesday, March 26
Family Day. All terminals will host family-themed entertainment including jugglers, face painters, balloon twisters and clowns from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Children’s activity books will be distributed at food and beverage concessions all week long while supplies last.
Wednesday, March 27
O’Hare Employee Day. Airport employees will be recognized with refreshments, luggage tags and a discount at HMSHost restaurant locations. A variety of bands will perform in all terminals from 2 to 5 p.m.
Thursday, March 28
Business Community Day. In recognition of the thousands of business travelers who pass though O’Hare on a daily basis, passengers can get 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi at the airport from Boingo’s splash screen. Jazz bands will perform in all terminals from 2 to 5 p.m.
Friday, March 29
Celebrate Chicago Day. O’Hare celebrates everything that makes Chicago a world-class city, and showcases the airport’s key role in supporting tourism. Staff from Choose Chicago will distribute promotional materials about the city to passengers in baggage claim. International music performances will take place in all terminals from 2 to 5 p.m. Eli’s Cheesecake Café will provide a cheesecake for a celebratory cake-cutting and offer free slices to passengers in Terminal 1 near Gate B9 at 1:30 p.m.
When O’Hare was formally dedicated in 1963, the airport served approximately 16 million passengers through 19 airlines with 426,000 flights per year. Today, O’Hare serves more than 67 million passengers through 50 airlines with nearly 880,000 flights annually.
“O’Hare International is one of the world’s busiest and most iconic airports, serving as the central hub of our national transportation system and the global gateway to Chicago,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “For more than 50 years, O’Hare has been a huge economic engine for the Chicago region. Nearly 40,000 people work at the airport, and the thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity the airport creates extend well beyond its boundaries.”
If you’d like to learn more about O’Hare, check out the newly created Fly Chicago page on the CDA website that features historical photos, a timeline of significant events and a look into the future.
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