Every spring I take a trip to Florida to relax before construction season in Maine kicks into full swing. Usually this consists of sitting by the pool, helping do some odd jobs around my parent’s place and sampling the local microbrew selections. This year was going to be different, I had plans for 3 different air shows while I was down there. The New Smyrna Beach Balloon and SkyFest, the Sun ‘n Fun International Fly-In and the MacDill Air Force Base AirFest.
We all know the cluster that was going on in Washington put an end to any military air shows that put the kibosh to MacDill. Other things came up and I was only able to make it to New Smyrna Beach. If you have a chance are in the area and have the opportunity by all means check it out. Free parking and only $5 to get in, it’s cheaper than a bottle of water at Disney.
I packed up my gear and off we went Saturday morning. About the time we hit Kissimmee I knew we should have left the day before. There are places with 5 or 6 lanes of traffic, but they could use 5 or 6 more, easily. There is plenty of parking and really not a lot of walking to get in the gates. Once you’re in there is fun for the whole family. From the obvious static displays of a Sheriff’s Office helicopter to the beautifully restored DC-3, farm tractor displays and carnival rides for the kids.
The aerial displays started at 1pm with various performers including the AeroShell Team, Tuskegee Airmen, military fighter/bomber demonstrations, Patty Wagstaff, a 300mph jet powered school bus and many others. Also running through the day were Army helicopter rides. I thought about it but the lines were rather long and I was enjoying the old war birds.
As the afternoon went on, the ocean breeze that kept us cool was also going to cancel the balloons from taking off at night. This was the one thing I was looking forward to but understand the safety issues involved. Sunday proved to be a better day and they launched that night. Pictures on the news were amazing and look forward to going next year.