Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 4:54 pm | Fair 65º

 
 
 
 

Central Coast AirFest to Debut with Canada’s Snowbirds in Santa Maria

Air show at the Santa Maria Public Airport will bring aerial performances while celebrating community's rich aviation history

Canada’s Snowbirds air demonstration jet team Click to view larger
Canada’s Snowbirds air demonstration jet team will be the star attraction at this weekend’s two-day Central Coast AirFest at the Santa Maria Public Airport. (Contributed photo)

The inaugural Central Coast AirFest will launch this weekend, celebrating modern military aircraft including the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and the U.S. military’s newest fighter, the F-35.

The event also will focus on Santa Maria’s aviation history when a rare still-flying P-38 Lightning takes to the skies. 

On Saturday and Sunday, the Santa Maria Public Airport will host the valley’s first air show after a three-year break for another event with different organizers.

The inaugural Central Coast AirFest will include a full slate of aerial acrobatics as well as static displays, with the air show staged behind the Santa Maria Radisson Hotel.

The Santa Maria performance by the headlining act, Canada’s Snowbirds air demonstration jet team, will mark the only California appearance by the team likened to the Air Force Thunderbirds or U.S. Navy Blue Angels.

The Snowbirds will arrive mid-day Thursday. Many of the other aircraft will arrive Thursday and Friday to participate in the show.

“The community has just been amazing this year as a far as sponsorships and volunteers,” said Chris Hastert, airport general manager. 

While the airport will host the show, a committee of volunteers, led by Chris Kunkle as air show director, has spearheaded planning. 

“They have just done an amazing job of keeping my workload down to a minimum,” Hastert said.

Organizers expect 10,000 and 15,000 people daily, but say the Snowbirds could boost the attendance to 25,000.

“The hype and buzz about this air show is really reaching out,” Hastert said, adding they had to cut off sponsorships since the materials had gone to the printers.

This year’s event will include performers whose relatives previously entertained crowds while flying daring stunts above Santa Maria.

Eric Tucker will bring his J-3 Cub Comedy Act to the AirFest. The Cal Poly alum is the son of Sean Tucker, who performed at several past events in Santa Maria.

One act, a Lockheed P-38 Lightning flight demonstration, also will perform, harkening back to the Santa Maria’s Valley history as the home for training hundreds of P-38 Lightning pilots at then-Santa Maria Army Air Field, located at the site of the airport.

The military's newest fighter, Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 Lightning, also will show its capabilities above Santa Maria.

Multiple food trucks and vendors are expected, with a beer garden available to those 21 and older. 

For the kids, bounce houses, games and kid food also will be offered.

Aerial performances are planned every 15 minutes between noon and 4 p.m. both days, organizers said.

After the planes have landed for the day, concerts are planned for Saturday and Sunday.

Gates will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. 

Pre-sale tickets cost $15 for adults ages 18 to 59, $5 for those ages 12 to 18, and free for under 12 or over 60 years old. 

Tickets purchased at the gate cost $5 more. 

VIP Experience tickets at $150 for adults and $75 for children include inside seating with food and beverage. There will also be outside seating exclusively for VIP Tent members. Members will have access to VIP exclusive bathrooms. 

Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here with a processing fee ranging from $1.89 to $9.99.

Paid parking both days costs $5, with parking off Blosser Road where buses will take air show attendees to the event. 

Attendees are encouraged to bring chairs. However, coolers will be prohibited.

This weekend's show marks months of planning by organizers who attended the International Council of Air Shows event last year to begin lining up performers, with plans to attend again later this year.

Any proceeds from the inaugural event will go toward next year’s show, along with providing donations to nonprofit groups volunteering and to award aviation scholarships, Hastert said. 

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >