This year's Cape Girardeau Regional Air Festival will have a multitude of offerings in the air and on the ground during the three days it comes to the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport.
The festival, in its sixth year, is intended to educate and entertain people about aviation as well as honor American veterans and members of the military. And while the festival mostly features aircraft, on Saturday and Sunday there will be a World War II battle re-enactment on the ground.
Twenty-four participants will bring to life a ground battle between U.S. and German troops, complete with pyrotechnics.
Also on the ground will be concession booths, children's activities and displays.
"There's a little bit of everything," said airport manager and festival director Bruce Loy.
Aerial performers include the Aeroshell Aerobatic team, which performs formation maneuvers in WWII North American Advanced Trainers; the U.S. Navy Leap Frogs, the Navy 15-person parachute team; the P-38 Lightning, a WWII fighter plane; the U.S. Air Force A-10A Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team; and the Turbo Shark.
The festival begins Friday night with a twilight show and hangar dance. Saturday and Sunday will be full of aerial performances.
To make the performances educational, during the performances somebody on the ground will explain to the audience what they are watching.
"Each performer puts together their own show, it's really entertaining," said Kristy Thurman, the festival's program director.
The festival is a family event, which means there will be plenty of children's activities. On Sunday, those 12 years old and under get in free. There is also Tracker's Junior Pilot Club, which will give children VIP treatment Saturday and Sunday. Children who sign up for the club will receive a T-shirt, lunch, prizes and have the opportunity to meet and get autographs from the pilots and performers.
This is the first year the pilot club has been held, and already over 40 children have signed up to take part.
Putting the festival together is no easy task, according to Loy. "It's quite a massive undertaking," he said.
Planning starts after the International Counsel of Air Shows meeting in December and continues up until the last minute.
The festival has grown steadily from its beginnings as a one-day aviation event in 1997.
Last year the festival had about 12,000 visitors and cost about $100,000 to put on. This year those numbers will be similar and there will be between 120 and 150 performers and 200 volunteers.
"It's getting bigger," Thurman said. "We've gotten an excellent reputation, and the performers really enjoy coming here."
For more information on the festival, visit www.capeairfestival.com.
335-6611, extension 182