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The Churchill Tank will be unveiled at TankFest. (Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum Photo)

This weekend’s Tankfest Northwest serves as the coming-out party for the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum, the recently rebranded showcase supported by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

Flying Heritage is considered the West Coast’s largest collection of operational military vehicles and warbirds, and the addition of a new hangar is likely to keep the museum’s ranking high for years to come. Groundbreaking for the museum’s 30,816-square-foot expansion will take place later this year.

For more than a decade, Allen’s Flying Heritage Collection has exhibited historic airplanes ranging from a Curtiss JN-4D Jenny, built in 1918 for America’s fledgling air force, to White Knight, the carrier airplane that played a role in SpaceShipOne’s prize-winning spaceflights of 2004.

But the collection, which is housed at Everett’s Paine Field, also includes a treasure trove of armored vehicles. In March, the museum added “Combat Armor” to its name to reflect its wider focus. Tankfest Northwest will be the first big public event at the museum under its new identity.

“This year marks the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum’s sixth annual Tankfest Northwest, an opportunity to bring the community together and celebrate our nation’s history,” said Adrian Hunt, the museum’s executive director.

The event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and features the debut of combat artifacts such as the Churchill Mk VII Crocodile, a flame-throwing World War II tank; the M2 155mm Long Tom field gun, which weighs 15 tons; and the M5A4 High-Speed Tractor, which towed artillery around World War II battlefields at up to 30 mph.

Other artifacts on display include a German Hetzer tank, a Soviet Scud missile system, an LVT-3 Bushmaster amphibious assault vehicle and a vintage Sherman tank used by the U.S. Army. Some of the vehicles will come to life during demonstrations on Saturday morning.

There’ll also be family-friendly activities including scavenger hunts, a bouncy house, a movie showing and a “baby gender reveal,” celebrated with a blast of confetti from the museum’s Flak 37 88mm gun.

Food trucks will be available to the public throughout the day. For more information, including ticket prices, check out the museum’s website.

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