AirFest 2017 to showcase cool aircraft at Paso Robles Airport

Hey, everybody! We’ve got the cure for the plaintive summer cries of, “But there’s nothing FUN to do!”

Paso Robles AirFest Logo 2017

Paso Robles AirFest Logo 2017

Set your GPS to Paso Robles Airport for AirFest 2017 on August 25 and 26. Two days of thrills and a slew of activities are sure to please everyone – from airplane enthusiasts to first-timers, to kids and kids at heart. There’s a party on Friday night with family-friendly events on Saturday. See impressive military, civilian and first responder aircraft up close. Wake your bones to the roar of airplane engines. Parents can even send their kids flying with free plane rides!

“It will be a great day for families to get out and see something new and exciting,” said Steve Allen, AirFest Operations Manager. “The planes are colorful and noisy when they fire up and fly by. We have some exotic cars and military vehicles on display, as well.”

2017 Airfest plane lit up in the night.

2017 Airfest plane lit up in the night.

The celebration will kick off on Friday, from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. Make a beeline to the large hangar just north of the terminal for the AirFest’s “Party with the Planes” from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. Come hungry, too, because an array of vendors will be in generous supply. Santa Maria-style BBQ will be served along with plenty of beer from Firestone Walker Brewing Company and local Paso Robles AVA wines. Soft drinks and water will also be on hand to keep guests amply hydrated.

Prepare to boogie because Martin Paris Band will keep everyone on the dance floor throughout the evening. His five-member ensemble of talented artists performs everything from pop, rock and roll to country genres. A colorfully lighted airplane sponsored by ACI Jet will also be displayed and is a must-see.

Cars and planes cruise the tarmac at Airfest.

Cars and planes cruise the tarmac at Airfest.

Early ticket purchases are encouraged for the evening for $25 per person. Pre-sale tickets are available online through the clickable, blue “Purchase Tickets” tab at www.pasoroblesairfest.com or the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce office at 1225 Park Street in Paso Robles. Office hours are Monday through Wednesday plus Saturday (until 5:00 p.m.), Thursday (till 6:00 p.m.), Friday (till 7:00 p.m.) and open 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Sunday. Call (805) 238-0506.

Fly-In and Airport Appreciation Day

On Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., free admission and $5 parking will ensure that everyone can see both vintage and modern aircraft displays, including civilian aircraft, one-of-a-kind experimental models and home-built planes.  A World War II-era C-47 SkyTrain will be on display among others. “CalFire will have their spotter plane as well as their bomber on display, and the guys will be answering people’s questions and showing off their aircraft,” said Allen. “We also anticipate that a few executive jets will be on display.”

At 12:00 noon will be a parachute delivery of the flag, a performance by Paso Robles Marching Band, our national Anthem and Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin’s speech to officially open AirFest 2017 and Airport Appreciation Day.

Airfest Paso Robles

Airfest Paso Robles

Afternoon highlights from 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. will be the sight and thunderous sound of a U.S. Navy F-18 Hornet fighter jet that will perform a high-speed pass and landing among the rest of the aircraft displays. In addition, several vintage World War II training and fighter aircraft will do take-offs and high-speed passes to wow the crowd.

From 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., free airplane rides led by Dave Fretwell of EAA Chapter #465 will be available for kids eight to 17 years of age. “A number of aircraft will be used, mainly Piper Cherokees and Piper Warriors along with a Cessna or two,” Allen explained. Between 10:00 a.m. and 12 noon, the North County Cloud Clippers will make a presentation of radio-controlled aircraft that is sure to be of special interest to children.

Plenty of food, Firestone Walker beer, beverages and water will be available throughout the day, including BBQ plus Taco Mafia, Coffee for Causes and other favorite food vendors. A hands-on activity hosted by Safe Launch, which focuses on juvenile drug prevention, will a big hit with the kids. A Cessna 182 will be made available for children to see up close, touch and even paint to their heart’s delight.

Paso Robles Airport possesses a history of military importance and usefulness, noted Allen. “It was originally built as a training base during World War II and known among pilots to have one of the most functional runway arrangements of any small municipal airport.

“We want to have families come out and enjoy the carnival atmosphere, see the colorful aircraft and enjoy the growl of the engines,” said Allen. “We really want people to see and appreciate their airport in action and know what a jewel it is.”

Learn more at www.pasoroblesairfest.com. Visit www.ewarbirds.org.