2019 Barksdale Airshow thrills locals and visitors alike

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Spectators take in the Barksdale Defenders of Liberty Air & Space Show last weekend. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

By Stacey Tinsley, stinsley@bossierpress.com

The Barksdale Defenders of Liberty Air & Space Show made its return to Bossier City Saturday, May 18 at Barksdale Air Force Base.

Also being staged Sunday, May 19, the 2019 air show featured aerobatic performances by the Canadian Force Snowbirds, the F-35 Demo Team, Tora! Tora! Tora! and the Black Daggers jump team. 

Spectators of the show were also able to see up close static displays of modern and historic military aircraft including the B-52 Stratofortress, B-1 Lancer, B-2 Spirit.

Thousands of spectators from far and near attended the opening day of the show. Including many military families who live at Barksdale. 

Having lived at Barksdale for 20 years, military spouse, Christian Vega, says that patrons who come to the show get to see and learn just a small part of what the military does. 

“My husband is a crew chief and specializes in the B-52. People don’t realize that this is a blessing for the community to be able to come out and be involved — to be able to see what goes on and learn. If you don’t see all of this, you don’t really know. It’s really educational, especially for children,” Vega said.

This year, the 2019 Barksdale Defenders of Liberty Air & Space Show featured a STEM Zone. STEM Zone is where school aged children in attendance at the show can take part in fun activities and exhibits that teach science, technology, engineering, and math. 

Exhibits included at STEM Zone are a tornado generator, virtual reality station, and drone technology. One visiting station located in STEM Zone was Bossier’s Red River Wildlife Refuge. Being an interactive learning station, the Red River Refuge brought with them animal furs, and learning and interactive games. 

“I love being a part of this. The kids are learning about the birds and different furs. It’s different, and I love it,” said Linda Wilson, volunteer at Red River Wildlife Refuge.

Curiosity of the event also drew in patrons from around the surrounding area. Juli Kissman and her family came all the way from Hornback, La. Being a military family, Kissman said she wanted to bring her two-year-old grandson to the event. 

“We were in town and thought it would be fun to bring my grandson to see the planes, he loves them. His father is actually stationed at Fort Polk,” said Kissman.

This event is organized and hosted by the 2nd Bomb Wing and Barksdale Air Force Base with the support of the Shreveport-Bossier Military Affairs Council.

Held for the first time in 1933, the Barksdale Defenders of Liberty Air & Space Show serves to enhance public awareness of U.S. Air Force capabilities and the Barksdale Air Force Base mission. Barksdale Air Force Base, is home of the 2nd Bomb Wing, is America’s premier strategic bomber base, housing three squadrons of B-52H Stratofortress bombers.