Ground crews parked a vintage warbird Friday afternoon at the Santa Maria Public Airport as vendors set up shop, among the preparations for this weekend’s Thunder Over the Valley Air Show.
The annual event is organized by the Santa Maria Museum of Flight.
Gates to the show on the south side of the airfield will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with access off Blosser Road, near Foster Road.
Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for senior citizens, $3 for youths ages 7 to 13, and free for children under age 6. A family of four will admitted for $25.
Military members and their dependents will be admitted for free.
Approximately seven vintage warbirds landed in Santa Maria by Friday afternoon for this year’s event, with some performers taking to the sky for practice.
“The theme is as always we’re honoring our fallen and wounded warriors and promoting support of troops, veterans and their families. said Mike Geddry Sr., event director and chief executive officer of the Museum of Flight.
“It has always been and will be always be as long as I can do it.”
Performers include John Collver flying his North American AT-6/SNJ, a military trainer built in 1944 and named War Dog for its civilian role.
Also scheduled to perform is Greg Colyer, who does aerial acts in his restored T-33 jet trainer decked out in a paint schedule from the Korean War era.
Another performer will be Bill Cornick in his Pitts S-2C biplane he called “Big Bad Green.”
This year’s show also have top-notch remote-controlled large model aircraft demonstrations through the Academy of Model Aeronautics.
“That might help with kids getting into aviation,” Geddry said.
The Santa Maria event is being held the same weekend as the Wings Over Camarillo Airshow.
Adding to the Santa Maria show’s struggles is the fact some sponsors didn’t come through for this year’s event.
Additionally, military support for small civilian air shows has fallen off in recent years due dwindling defense budgets.
However, the show has lined up sponsors including the Santa Maria Public Airport, Toyota and Honda of Santa Maria, Don Lehr Welding, Daren’s Berries and Quinn Rentals.
— Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.