If the 11th annual Transportation Day is any indication, the local economy is on its way back.

"People aren't just giving $5, they're pulling out $20s for tickets this year," said Carolyn Davis, organizer of Saturday's event hosted by God's Garden Preschool and Child Development Center. "Everyone has been generous. I can tell things have picked up."

The numbers tell the story: Approximately 4,000 people attended the event, up from 3,000 last year, and the school netted more than $17,500 through ticket purchases and donations.

While many different types of vehicles were on display, the highlights were the fly-over by World War II replica airplanes and the landing of the Airvac 1 helicopter on the school's campus. Attendees lined up afterward for a chance to sit in the cockpit of the Airvac 1, which flies out of Sky Harbor International Airport.

"We do about 100 pickups per month, and we go all over the state," said Kathy Phillips, R.N.C.

The funding received will go toward "big ticket" items for the school, according to Davis. In previous years, the money went toward a sunshade for the playground.

"(The school) looks at capital improvements," she said. "And there is always something you have to repair and the money made today can help toward that as well."

Davis said she sensed a positive change in the attitude of the event-goers, a reflection, she thinks, of a turn in the economy.

Students of the school and their parents have been participating in a change donation drive with the help of Midfirst Bank, which will match up to $1,000 in donations.

"People knew to bring their change this year," Davis said. "That has been a huge part of donations."

Also on display were vehicles from the Phoenix Police Department, the fire department, a Border Patrol Hummer, city buses and vintage cars.

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