The region’s largest airport’s giant tarmac is home to Fargo AirSho 2015 July 25 and 26, a family-friendly aerial festival featuring the finest flyers in the world.
It’s T-minus just a few hot summer nights before planes descend upon Hector’s runways for the Saturday-Sunday show.
Fargo AirSho 2015 is headlined by a long-awaited return of those blue birds, the U.S. Navy/USMC Blue Angels precision military aviation demonstration team, this season featuring USMC Capt. Katie Higgins, the first female pilot since the Blues formed in 1946.
The Airsho is a regional event born of the love of flight, first flown in 1989. Held every second year, it has hosted military flight demonstrations not only by the Blue Angels, but the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds, Canada’s red-winged Snobirds and the North Dakota National Guard’s own Happy Hooligan’s in their mean F-16, when Fargo still had a manned flight mission. The 2013 event was grounded as a result of U.S. federal government sequestration.
Past Fargo Airshos have attracted as many as 30,000 over a two-day event. This one is special to members of the Fargo Airsho planning committee. It’s being flown in honor of Casselton, N.D., ace extraordinaire Jim Maroney, call sign, “Fang,” who lived as an aerial triple threat as a U.S. Marine Corps fighter pilot, international commercial captain and crowd-pleasing air show performer.
Maroney was lost to us in March of 2014, when his de Havilland DHC-1 Super Chipmunk aerobatic plane flew into the hills of Tennessee’s Cherokee National Forest en route to an air show in Florida.
In many ways this show serves as a prairie aerial reunion for flyers within a bunny hop of the Fargo-Moorhead aviation hub.
Now is the time to secure tickets. They are available through mail or electronic means through the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau or at Casey’s C-stores throughout the Red River Valley. Parking is $5.
Prices for a pass to the Fargo Airsho are $30 for adults, $15 for children ages 10-to17 and free for those younger.
For that you get a day of seeing one of the best aviation shows in the nation:
In addition to the Blues:
- Jet-fueled daredevil Paul Stender and his super-fast, super-cool, jet-propelled school bus and whatever other wheeled contraption he chooses to flame across the runway. Expect explosive action.
- Western North Dakota’s own Wild West show featuring the Pietsch boys from Minot.
Lt. Col. John Klatt, honoring this nation’s U.S. Air Force National Guard units, defying gravity with some unforgettable maneuvers.
- The U.S. Navy Seals elite “Leap Frog” parachute team, landing in front of you and supported by our own Skydive Fargo team. Watch them give gravity a test along with Skydive Fargo.
- The Marine Corps’ incomparable F-8 Harrier Jump Jet, an awkward bird made famous in its appearance in the film, “True Lies.”
On the ground you will find multiple Armed Forces air birds, up close to touch and tour, as well as a myriad food, beverage, souvenir and aviator-sunglass booths. Above all, these are staffed by aviation lovers who go above and beyond, including members of area service groups, scouts and other community-minded organizations, to bring the sky alive.
Bring a blanket and bag chairs. Avoid backpacks or satchels, with the exception of diaper bags, as there will be gate security. Bring binoculars, sunscreen and check ahead for traffic information on the airshow website. There is no smoking and no vaping on airport property. Strollers are allowed. Bicycles are not. There will be people-movers and golf carts available for those who need assistance. There will be Games Galore and other activities available for children.
By Gerry Gilmour
Fargo Airsho Committee