Wild West Air Fest readies for landing in Steamboat Springs
Organizers promise something for everyone at Steamboat airport
September 1, 2011
Steamboat Springs — Seven years after putting on their inaugural event, Wild West Air Fest organizers say they're fortunate to have become a staple of the Labor Day holiday weekend in Steamboat Springs.
"We're excited to be a part of something that people can look forward to every year," said Sarah Leonard, events coordinator for the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.
The two-day event is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Steamboat Springs Airport. The cost is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 6 to 12 and free for children ages 5 and younger. Some parking is available at the airport, but organizers are asking attendees to instead park at the Stock Bridge Transit Center and take a free shuttle to the airport.
"No one will have to wait more than five or 10 minutes for the shuttle," Leonard said.
The Air Fest features a tarmac filled with interesting sights for adults and children.
The KidSpace area presented by Wings Over the Rockies includes a flight simulator as well as other hands-on activities geared toward aviation, space and science. Kids can build and fly a model rocket, assemble a balsa wood airplane and build a a candy airplane from bubble gum, SweeTarts, and Life Savers.
It would not be Air Fest without the opportunity to take to the skies over the Yampa Valley for 20 to 30 minutes. People can sign up for the airplane tours.
The most affordable ride is $45 for a trip on a Douglas C-47 Skytrain military transport aircraft used in World War II. For $55, attendees can ride on the small 1945 Piper J-3 Cub aircraft that was popular for flight training.
In an effort to get children interested in aviation, kids ages 8 to 17 can sign up for the Young Eagles Program that allows them to go up in a plane for free Monday.
Rides on a 1941 Boeing Stearman open-cockpit biplane are $100, helicopter rides are $50, and for $475, two people can ride in the 1945 TBM Navy Avenger World War II torpedo bomber.
Those planes, along with a few others that are new to Air Fest, will be on display at the airport throughout the weekend.
"They love flying, and they love talking about the planes," Leonard said about the pilots who play an integral role in Air Fest.
There are presentations and ceremonies both days. At 10:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, Gordon Page, founder and director of the Spirit of Flight Foundation and Museum in Erie, will talk about adventures to locate, recover and restore several rare World War II aircraft.
At noon both days is a Tribute to the Troops followed by a radio-controlled airplane show at 12:15 p.m. At 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Ron Pollard, a local retired aviator and combat pilot, will talk about combat carrier operations and missions over North Vietnam.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com