Thousands expected for air show
It’s a weekend filled with breathtaking aerial stunts, roaring jet trucks, rock concerts, fireworks and activities for fun seekers of all ages. The Great Georgia Airshow (GGAS) will return to Atlanta Regional Airport-Falcon Field, Peachtree City, October 11-13 with a new line-up that promises to dazzle, entertain and inspire aviation enthusiasts and future aviators, engineers and scientists. The weekend will kick-off Friday, Oct. 11 at 3 p.m. when the gates open for the first ever night show that includes a concert and fireworks.
The GGAS roster includes some of the most highly regarded performers in the air show community. Joining the 2013 show will be the Misty Blues All-Woman Skydiving Team, the nationally renowned Aeroshell Aerobatic Team, Rower Airshows, the always hilarious Alabama Boys and Vertigo Airshows, an aerobatic glider. The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Dixie Wing will again parade its fleet of meticulously restored World War II-era aircraft, while Viet Nam War-era helicopters will be provided by the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation.
Thanks to a reputation as one of the best air shows in the region, GGAS was named a Top 20 Event by the Southeastern Tourism Association, but organizers believe the best is yet to come.
“75 percent of the performers are new to the show” said Air Show Director Angie Faulise, “and we have totally reinvented our program so there are a wider range of activities and experiences, including a night show on Friday, a KidsZone, concerts, fireworks, flight simulators and a variety of hospitality packages.”
Night shows are new to the air show circuit, but they already have proven to be extremely popular with spectators by combining precision flying with spotlights, strobes, illuminated smoke, a fireworks display and music to create a stunning experience. The GGAS Friday Night Show will begin at 6:30 p.m..
For thrill seekers, GGAS offers rides in warbirds, monster trucks, helicopters, hot air balloons, a zip line and a wind tunnel. Aspiring pilots, aviation mechanics and aerospace engineers can learn about careers in aviation at the Great Georgia Airshow Aviation Education Expo, while vendors of all types will be on hand for souvenir hunters. Ultimate Fighting Championship fans can meet contender Brian Stann.
The fresh approach has already paid off, with over 12,000 tickets presold to date, setting the stage for a record breaking crowd.
GGAS concerts include performances by Madison Rising and Bombshells United.
Madison Rising is a rock band that performs guitar-heavy rock music with an explicitly patriotic pro-American message and sound. In 2012, the band partnered with the National Anthem Celebration Foundation to educate the public on the importance of the “Star Spangled Banner”. They released a reworked version with “more energy and a modern take.” said Dave Bray, the band’s leader and a U.S. Navy veteran: “We’ve re-worked it in an absolutely unique way, but staying as true and respectful to the original version as possible.”
The track has since exceeded 4.4 million hits on YouTube.
Bombshells United, is a female trio that reprise standards made famous during the Big Band-era. They will perform in Camp Dixie, an area that features a military living history timeline and restored vehicles from the Georgia Military Vehicle Preservation Association.
The Great Georgia Airshow’s secret for success is that the event is a labor of love; organized, managed and staffed entirely this year by 300 unpaid volunteers who share a goal of celebrating aviation and serving the community.
GGAS benefits more than 40 area school and civic groups, as well as non-profit organizations, but it has also emerged as a boost to the local economy. In 2010, an impact study indicated that the financial value to Fayette County’s economy, due to the business activity generated by the preparation for and staging of the event, was $637,653, and $1,130,417 for the increased sales with Fayette County businesses
As a special thank you to America’s servicemen and women, admission to the 2013 Great Georgia Airshow is free to active duty military in uniform.
“GGAS is without a doubt a premier aviation event with something for everyone,” continued Faulise ,“but more importantly, we rally the community in support of many deserving groups and causes.”
To see a complete schedule of performers and activities or purchase advance tickets, visit the air show website. Tickets can also be purchased at the gate. Parking is $5-$10 per vehicle, depending on proximity to the airport (cash only please). www.thegreatgeorgiaairshow.com.
But, if you’re going to the Great Georgia Airshow at Falcon Field this weekend, your best bet for transportation will be the golf cart.
Golf cart parking will be on-site and free again this year, but off-site parking will come with a cost of $5 at Starr’s Mill High School and $10 at Sany America, with only cash accepted. The costs are necessary to combat increased costs for the shuttle buses, insurance and the like, said Airshow Director Angie Faulise.
Handicap parking will be available at Bethlehem Baptist Church and Dixie Aerospace, and special handicap-acessible buses will ferry those patrons directly to the airshow grounds, Faulise said.
One major change this year has to do with the Friday “night show” as it has eliminated the former practice times that some residents have come out to watch for free.
Faulise said the area will not be open to the public at all on Friday until the gates open at 3 p.m. and even then guests much have the special “night show” ticket for admission or they may purchase one at the gate.
Faulise said the weather is forecast to be “perfect” for flying this weekend and based on the number of advance tickets sold, they are preparing for double the usual crowd at Falcon Field. Through early Monday, more than 15,000 advance tickets had been sold, Faulise said.
This year’s event will be more than an airshow, with a host of activities on the ground that organizers are urging patrons to come early and enjoy, from 3-D simulators and a 4-D theater experience to live music and food trucks among a host of other offerings for children.