Hopes soar for second annual air show

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Pictured above is a Corsair flown by Jim Tobul.

The second annual Dunkirk-Lake Shore Air Show will feature even more “ooo’s,” “ahhh’s” and “Oh my gosh’s.”

Air show organizers hope this weekend’s highlight will thrill and amaze residents and visitors alike.

“We’ve put a lot of hard work and collaboration into making this the best show we can. There will be military planes, a biplane with wing walker Ashley Shelton and American aerobatic expert Patty Wagstaff,” Dunkirk Festivals and Special Events Coordinator Hector Rosas said. “This is going to be an absolutely thrilling show for the crowd.”

Hector Rosas said event has been advertised as far away as Ohio and Pennsylvania and it has paid off in local hotels booked to capacity. Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas said he has heard the excitement.

“I have gotten calls from out-of-towners from Texas and Florida, saying they will be in town for the air show,” he said. “There is a lot of excitement, we have more acts and a different wing walker. … We’re going to have a busy weekend and I hope residents and visitors enjoy themselves and have a safe holiday.”

See AIR SHOW, Page A6

Opening ceremonies will begin Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. on the stage at Lakefront Boulevard and Lemming Street. The ceremony will include plaques recognizing Emilee Hanlon, Dunkirk’s track star, and Dan Reininga, CEO and president of Lake Shore Savings Bank — and a very civic-minded individual — as well as the U.S. and Canadian national anthems sung by Cindy Schmitt.

After opening ceremonies, the aerobatic stunts are expected to run about two and a half hours.

Featured this year are Jim Tobul, in his F4U-4 Corsair, named the “Korean War Hero” in tribute to Korean Conflict veterans. He flies with Scott “Scooter” Yoak in his Quicksilver P-51 Mustang. Greg Shelton will fly his Super Stearman with his wife, Ashley, performing as this year’s wing walker.

Patty Wagstaff, a U.S. Olympic Aerobatic Team champion and winner of many awards for her aerobatic skills, will be piloting her Extra 300S.

New this year will be the Misty Blue All Woman Skydiving Team. Other performers include, Trevor Rafferty flying a Javelin and Rick Volker, flying both days and Gord Price in Sunday’s performance only.

The best viewing area is along Lakefront Boulevard and speakers to hear the opening ceremonies and air show commentary will be placed from Main to Serval streets. Food and beverage vendors will also park along Lakefront Boulevard.

Dunkirk Festivals will again sell programs this year. Anyone buying one will have the opportunity to have it signed by the Misty Blue Skydivers and have your picture taken with them.

The show is dependent on weather conditions, but every effort will be made to see that the show goes on.

“If the weather is inclement, we will try to adjust the show to the weather conditions. If the weather is poor, it may have to be shortened or if there is low cloud cover the skydivers can’t get high enough to jump safely, but we will make every attempt to put on the show,” Carl Bjurlin of Dunkirk Aviation explained.

Again this year shuttle buses will be available from select SUNY Fredonia parking lots and the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds’ parking lot.

The holiday weekend’s festivities actually begin Thursday with Music on the Pier featuring Straight On: Heart Tribute and opening act Plum Krazy starting at 5:30 p.m. Live music will continue throughout the weekend with Passion Works and Recess on Saturday, Black Widow and Jersey: Bruce Springsteen Tribute on Sunday, ION Sky and Eminence Front: The Who/Bad Company Tribute on Monday, all from 4 to 8:30 p.m., and Fallen Union and Black Diamond on Tuesday from from 2:30 to 8:30 p.m. All music will be held in Memorial Park.

The largest fireworks display in Chautauqua County will take place after dusk on Tuesday.

“While this time is one that is usually filled with family picnics, I encourage each of you to take some time and participate in what the city’s Special Events Team has prearranged for your family enjoyment,” Mayor Rosas added, thanking all those involved in the planning and all the sponsors of the events.

For more information check dunkirktoday.com or facebook.com/DunkirkLakeShoreAirShow.