Get ready for skydiving exhibitions, a flight simulator and a dozen World War II-era warbirds at the Big Bear Air Fair set for Aug. 15.
In addition there will be classic cars, plenty of activities for kids, including a bounce house, obstacle course, face painting and more. There will also be food vendors, helicopter and biplane rides, and souvenirs for sale.
The Big Bear Air Fair is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Big Bear City Airport. One notable difference from past Air Fairs is that admission this year is free.
“It’s going to be a great Air Fair,” said Big Bear Airport District board president Julie Smith. “I’m really excited about it. The staff has done a tremendous job, and it’s going to be great because we’re inviting the public to come out for free and enjoy it and see what we are about and what we have to offer, so it should be a great event.”
Airport staff member Tom Hoover, who has been involved in putting on numerous Air Fairs over the years, reflected on some of the things that are different about this year’s Air Fair, and what remains the same.
“All the past Air Fairs, we always have warbirds,” Hoover said. “That’s kind of the staple, the standard.” He said this Air Fair includes more general aviation, as well as the warbirds. “This is a general aviation airport, this is what we have most of the time is the Cessnas and the Cherokees, that kind of thing,” Hoover said. “So we’re trying to bring in more of that this year, more of the common aircraft.”
Hoover said the Air Fair generally brings about 7,000 visitors. The shift toward more general aviation planes is partly an effort to draw a more diverse crowd. Some Air Fair visitors might be able to more easily relate to the general aviation planes, Hoover said. Smith said it’s also about modernizing the Air Fair.
“People love the warbirds and looking at them, but that’s more aviation’s past, not necessarily aviation’s future and what we do now,” Smith said. “We’re trying to bring in the general aviation to show what we do now, and the future.”
The push to bring the Air Fair into the 21st century means there will also be a drone display this year. Airport General Manager Dustin Leno said that while the airport he previously worked at had an air fair, it wasn’t on the scale of Big Bear’s. Preparations for the Big Bear Air Fair have been ongoing since Leno started in his position in May, he said, and they’ve been ramping up as the event gets closer. “The airport I was at last, San Luis Obispo, we never had warbirds like this, I mean this is pretty cool,” Leno said. “It wasn’t as big of an event, so this is pretty impressive actually.”
Air Fair organizers recommend bringing hats, sunscreen, sunglasses, water bottles, light jackets for those planning to stay in the area overnight, and cameras. Photography is encouraged at the Air Fair. Pets, glass containers, alcohol, firearms or weapons, bicycles, roller skates, skateboards and scooters are not allowed. For more information, visit www.BigBearAirFair.com.