Fans pack the 20th annual airshow
Ticket sales were up, visitors poured in, and aerobatic performers thrilled the crowds during the Airshow of the Cascades last Friday and Saturday at the Madras Municipal Airport.
"The 20th anniversary was just absolutely great for our community as well as our out-of-the-area guests," said Airshow President Joe Krenowicz.
Airshow of the Cascades Board Secretary/Treasurer Rick Allen said they did not raise prices for this year's show and were able to compare it with the 2019 event.
"Our ticket sales increased by 21% based on preliminary data this year," Allen reported.
On Monday, Allen said airshow organizers did not have accurate attendance records yet because of sponsors, youth, veterans and promotion passes that went out to companies.
However, Krenowicz pointed out, "We had a great turnout based off what we saw on the number of vehicles we saw in the parking lot, and the one thing that occurred this year, we had a major influx of people coming in well before 3 on Friday and well before 10 on Saturday."
The world's top military parachute team, the U.S. Army Golden Knights, headlined the show along with two B-17 Bombers that performed together on Saturday. Many other aerobatic performers thrilled the crowds throughout the event. The car show and fly-in drew admirers as did the Patriot Pinup girls and the vendors.
Folks toured the Erickson Aircraft Collection, which featured a visit from 100-year-old Pearl Harbor Navy veteran Dick Higgins of Bend on Saturday.
"The wind on Friday night was very close to causing the U.S. Army Golden Knights for the 6 p.m. show to cancel, however, they felt they could safely perform the routine, which they accomplished by hitting the target zone in front of the crowd," Allen said.
The fish and chips dinner on Friday night proved popular, and the line for the Elks Breakfast on Saturday morning reached into the core of the food vendor court.
"We are really glad for them because certainly one of our core projects of the Airshow of the Cascades is to include other nonprofits for their specific fundraising efforts," Krenowicz said.
Airshow guests were encouraged to follow COVID protocols in light of the governor's guidelines to wear masks for both indoor and outdoor events where physical distancing cannot be maintained. However, the vast majority of attendees were not wearing masks.
According to Allen, Deschutes County residents accounted for 51% of the airshow attendees. Crook County residents made up 6%, Madras and Culver were 11%, 5% were from Crooked River Ranch, 23% came from other places in Oregon, and 4% of the attendees came from other states.
Allen noted that those figures are pre-sales, which would skew lower for Jefferson County residents who tend to purchase the day of the event, have access to sponsor tickets or volunteer, which are not included in these totals. More than 250 volunteers pitched in to help with the annual festival.
The new Flight Line Club upgrade proved to be a huge success, exceeding their expectations with $13,000 in revenue, he reported. "We will continue to expand options in the future based on the demand."
The number of people camping in the general admission RV/camping area was up 40% over the previous year as all local hotels were filled.
"Our local, regional and national sponsors, along with the tourism dollar contributions from the City of Madras and Jefferson County, make the annual event possible," Krenowicz said. "The stability and commitment from the 300 airshow volunteers solidifies the continued success of the airshow. A large thank you to everyone."
The date for the 2022 show is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 26 and 27.
"We are looking forward to a 2022 airshow," Krenowicz said. "The board starts in November. We pull together our committee in January, and we'll put a show on in August of 2022."
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