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Thousands attracted to Owensboro riverfront as Air Show takes flight

Published: Aug. 14, 2021 at 8:37 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 15, 2021 at 12:25 AM CDT
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OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - A fun-filled day transpired along the riverfront as the Owensboro Air Show took flight this weekend.

14 News was in attendance for all the action on Saturday.

[PREVIOUS: Hundreds gather to honor community heroes ahead of Owensboro Air Show]

Thousands of spectators lined the river walk, streets, parking garages, roofs and lawns to see the numerous planes and helicopters soar through the Owensboro skyline.

Event officials say people from all over the country arrived in town this weekend to see the airborne spectacle firsthand.

“This is the ninth year we’ve been doing the Air Show here in Owensboro every fall,” Tim Ross, the city’s director of public events said. “We get visitors literally throughout the United States that come out every year.”

Nearly 60,000 people are expected to have their eyes on the sky over the course of the weekend for a show that’s especially unique this year, featuring a lineup that includes the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.

Judging from the sounds of the crowds, onlookers were pretty excited to feast their eyes on the Navy’s flight demonstration squadron.

“A great line of performers,” Ross said. “The Blue Angels headlining again, but the first time we’ve ever had at our Air Show, the F-22 Raptor Demo Team. It’s the best fighter aircraft in the world, literally, and we haven’t had it here in Owensboro. So we’re thrilled to have that aircraft. It’s amazing what it does in the sky.”

“You don’t have to be just a veteran, you don’t have to be any walk of life, it’s something that transcends job descriptions and everything,” Tim Centers, president of Rolling Thunder’s Kentucky Chapter One said. “At this time in our country, you need something to bring everyone together, and I think this event certainly does that.”

In regard to the pandemic, city officials say they are definitely concerned about the recent spike of COVID-19 cases in Daviess County, so that’s why they have urged attendees to follow social distancing guidelines and wear masks.

“We anticipated from the very beginning, just being cautious with how we were going to attack that, we’ve limited the number of reserved seating areas that we’ve sold for the event and all of those were sold in groups or tables, so it’s only kind of immediate family who are purchasing those,” Ross said. “Just to ensure and try to help minimize strangers sitting too close to each other, and then we’re obviously also encouraging people for social distancing. The [Owensboro Convention Center] also has masks required when you’re indoors inside the building. So we’re trying to do as much as we can.”

“We’re concerned about COVID for sure, and we’re asking people to use good common sense,” Owensboro Mayor Tom Watson said. “But you know, that’s not a vegetable grown in everyone’s garden, so we’ll see how that works out. We don’t want to overload the hospitals later on, but you know people are just ready to get outside, and thankfully it’s an outside event.”

With thousands crossing state lines to come to watch, officials say the show is also an economic boost for the city.

“The local community loves to get back out and celebrate together with events - there’s a lot of excitement in the air,” Ross said. “But also, it helps our economic bump too with the hotels and restaurants having all this influx of visitors. Most all the hotels in town were sold out four and five weeks ago, so having that good bump for a community-wide event is amazing.”

For those who missed the chance to attend Saturday, another whole day of events is planned for Sunday.

You can find a full schedule for the event here.

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