Sat, March 02, 2024

First air show in 20 years brings Thunderbirds and economic boost to Augusta

Look! Up in the sky! An air show will return to the skies over Augusta Regional Airport, pumping money into the economy, costing the airport nothing, and creating opportunities for vendors and sponsorships.

The two-day event will be on May 13 and 14. It will feature attack helicopter demonstrations by the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation, stunt pilots, and the United States Special Operations Parachute Team.

The centerpiece will be the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, flying F-16 Fighting Falcons and performing solo maneuvers and in formation.

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Members of the Aviation Commission began discussing an air show in late May 2022. Air show subcommittee chairman, Randy Sasser said being able to secure the Thunderbirds in less than a year is impressive. Normally, their shows are scheduled two years in advance, but the team happened to have availability this year.

One of the highlights of the Augusta Air Show will be U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

“We expect it to be a sellout from all the response that I’m hearing,” he said. “It’s going to be different than what we have seen in this community before.”

The airport contracted with Bryan Lilley, owner of Air Dot Show, based in Florida. Augusta is one of seven shows he will produce this year.

Lilley said they are seeking a title sponsor, that’s a larger company that is locally based. There are also other sponsorship opportunities.

“We offer “Sponsorships on-the-fly” packages available to purchase online that are really easy to activate,” Lilley said. “If a business is interested in a more comprehensive package, they can also complete the inquiry form on the sponsor info page and we’ll work with them to design a custom program to meet the needs of their business.”

They are also seeking local vendors and volunteers. Links are on the air show website: https://augustaairshow.com/.

Lilley said, “We will have a master concessionaire for both food and retail merchandise. Some local vendors will have the opportunity to work as subcontractors for the concessionaires.”

Sasser said Lilley’s company is responsible for all costs associated with the air show.

“The only thing we have to do is just make sure the airport is ready to receive the promoter and everything that’s coming. We’re going to do some mowing and stuff like that. That has to happen anyway. So, this is basically going to be a zero-cost event to this airport and to this community,” he said.

Advance tickets are on sale now on the website. General Admission for adults is $31.50 and for children for $23.25 and it includes a parking pass. There are also preferred seating tickets and lawn boxes. The top tickets are to the Flight Line Club for $179 and include VIP parking and entrance.

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