Organized by the Des Moines Skydivers, Winterset, IA
The Des Moines Skydivers enter into a short term land lease agreement with the airport commission for the duration of the event.
This is the 32nd year of the event, but it didn’t start out being held in Fort Dodge. It started out as just a small group with very few skydivers in the late 70s and the event was moved to Fort Dodge in the mid to late 80s. The “Dollar Daze” name comes from the days when they had a single engine airplane they jumped out of and they charged $1 per jump.
The Couch Freaks got their nickname, from those early days when they started out as a group of single guys and they cleared out all the furniture, lamps, rugs, end tables from their homes and made a make shift living room at the event.
A “Boogie” is a word given to a skydiving event that brings in several experienced skydivers over a 2, 3 or 4 day period. This boogie differs from most in that the Fort Dodge Regional Airport is a drop zone for only one week each year. The Airport employees and the Des Moines Skydivers transform the acres of grass and cornfields within and around the airport in a skydiving Mecca for enthusiasts from across the country.
Over this five day period, the normal grass wide open spaces of the airport become a small community capable of providing services to over 1,000 people. The landing area and campground are laid out with fencing installed and soon the airport begins to look like a drop zone. Eighty electrical hook-ups are set up and wired back to a permanent electrical transformer. In the early days of the event, tents were the standard sleeping accommodations. But now more than 80 RVs arrive and tents-thought still abundant-are no longer the preferred housing arrangement.
Manifest operations are based out of a 50’ trailer set up the weekend before the boogie. Organizers also haul in a 50’ shower trailer to guarantee everyone hot water. An ice trailer, a bottled water trailer along with food vendors is set up to prepare for the hundreds of skydivers.
The gates to the airport open to the Skydivers on Wednesday @ noon. If the weather looks good, there can be as many as 80 campers arriving on Tuesday. The camping spots are first come, first serve and based up the order of the lineup. Because so many skydivers come early, and the line was getting longer and longer on Nelson Ave, the lineup is now staged over at Harlan Rogers so is doesn’t create a problem on the road. When noon arrives on Wednesday, and the gates finally open, a “parade of campers” with horns honking and shouts of joy, they move from Harlan Rogers onto the airport property in less than five minutes.
Skydive Arizona based in Eloy, AZ supplies the aircraft for this event. They typically bring in two to three Twin Otters and a SkyVan. If the weather is good (blue sky/low wind), all of these aircraft will be flying continuously from morning until dusk. That means skydivers will be in air landing in continuously throughout the day.