Skydiving leprechaun brings St. Patrick’s Day to Hiller Aviation Museum


Ailee Lim

Ed Pawlowski, a professional skydiver, dresses up as a leprechaun to make his grand entrance at the Hiller Aviation Museum. The museum hosts events for Easter, Halloween, and Christmas in addition to St. Patrick’s Day.

Ailee Lim, Staff Writer

Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Wrong, it’s a leprechaun!

St. Patrick’s Day is usually a day filled with parades, drinking, and the color green. But at the Hiller Aviation Museum, St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated with their fourth annual Skydiving Leprechaun.

Willie Turner, the vice president of operations and marketing at the museum, coordinated the event.

“It’s a lot of fun we bring to the community. That’s what the museum is here for, activities. Sometimes it helps have an extra event to give people an extra incentive to come in,” Turner said.

This year marks the fourth annual leprechaun jump. The museum also hosts events on various holidays like Easter, Halloween, and Christmas with different holiday characters arriving by helicopter.

“It’s something different and exciting for the kids to see. We come to all the events at this museum, like Santa and the Easter bunny coming in a helicopter. The leprechaun jump is our favorite since he jumps from the helicopter,” said Kila Bailey, who came with her daughter.

Before the leprechaun jump, the museum was open for visitors to admire the airplane exhibits. The museum also brought in other activities like inflatable bounce houses and face painting for children to enjoy.

There were also interactive exhibits that guests could walk in to see model airplanes. Another interactive and fun exhibit was an airplane that visitors could paint with bright colors.

“I like how many people it brings in. All sorts of demographics attend these events, even people who may not normally visit our museum,” said Mark Van Bergen, a museum worker.

An hour after the museum opened, hundreds of people crowded outside to see a helicopter take off. Inside was Ed Pawlowski, a professional skydiver who volunteers for this event. He was dressed from head to toe in green and had a big leprechaun hat on.

After the helicopter was high enough, Pawlowski jumped out of it with his parachute. He landed safely nearby and then came to the crowd of people waiting for him.

He handed out green wrapped chocolate coins with shamrocks on them to children. He also gave hugs and took pictures with them.

Pawlowski has been skydiving for 26 years. He has skydived more than 19,000 times and the highest he has jumped from was 25,000 feet. He says his favorite attribute of skydiving is the freedom it gives.

“It’s amazing, everybody should try it at least once,” Pawlowski said.