More than 6,500 attend Libertyfest, air show

Friday, July 4, 2008

By most accounts the first combined Libertyfest and air show is a success.

By 7:45 p.m., 6,559 people had passed through the gates at Cape Girardeau Regional Airport.

Airport advisory board member Walt Wildman said it is the biggest crowd he's ever seen for an air show. He suggested high gas prices and free admission were the main reasons people seemed to flock to the event.

As late as 8 p.m. a line of cars continued to flow into the airport's grassy parking spots.

Joseph Davis, 7, wanted to see the parachutes, and did. He arrived with his parents and four sisters at 6:30 p.m., in time for the second Golden Knights show. The U.S. Army's demonstration parachute team had wowed people earlier, despite weather that kept the plane from rising above 3,000 feet.

Lizzie Hinkle, 14, said she would have skipped the air show in favor of the fireworks at the end of the evening, but her family wanted to see the planes. Hinkle brought two friends, Michaela Whitehurst and Delaney Deiro, both 14; Whitehurst said they were having fun just spending time together while waiting for nightfall and fireworks.

Jason Brown, 14, and brothers Josh and Daniel Mattison, 17 and 16, respectively, said they liked the jet-powered Dodge truck the best.

Gloria Farr and Tome Dudley of Millersville arrived earlier in the day for the air show, but had to leave for other family events. They hoped to return in time for the evening's fireworks.

Jane Randol Jackson, co-founder of the Red House Interpretive Center and former director of the Cape Girardeau County Archive Center, was presented this year's Spirit of America Award.

Check back for more or read Saturday's Southeast Missourian.

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