COLUMBIA, Mo. — The Salute to Veterans Memorial Day Weekend Celebration Airshow is returning May 26-27 to Columbia.
The annual event, now in its 30th year, celebrates veterans and cool aircraft: a winning combination. The show runs 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Columbia Regional Airport. Admission and parking are free. Alternatively, guests may park at the Jefferson City Airport or the MU Trowbridge parking lot in Columbia and take a shuttle — a round-trip costs $5.
Salute to Veterans was founded by Columbia local Mary McCleary Posner, according to salute.org. After returning to her hometown from a corporate career in New York, she decided its airshow needed to grow. Her father was a World War I veteran who set an altitude record on Armistice Day in 1918 in a Curtiss Jenny. As the story goes, he told her if she ever figured out a way to say thank you to the men and women who had risked their lives to secure her freedom, she should do it.
Salute to Veterans was her way to say "thank you."
This year's theme is "Three Decades of Honoring and Remembering," and event organizers are hoping to double last year's number of veteran honorees. Elderly veterans from the area get to watch a private show on May 25, with gates opening to the public May 26.
After arriving at the event, look to the skies to see flight demonstrations by the famed Warthogs (A-10 Thunderbolt II), a World War II-era Curtiss P-40, the Trojan Phlyers piloting T28B Trojans and a rare De Havilland D.H. 100 — and more.
Daring parachuters will plunge from the sky, and the University of Missouri's joint service drill team will perform intricate routines. On the ground, visitors may explore aircraft such as the P-8A Poseidon and many other rare, classic planes.
Guests are encouraged to bring their own folding chairs, as no seating is provided. Event organizers also suggest wearing sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen, and bringing ear protection for young ones. Food and beverage tents are available on-site.
For more information, visit salute.org/Airshow2018.