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Brown: Long live the Barksdale Air Show

The skies above Bossier City will once again be filled with planes of all types and sizes this upcoming weekend as the annual Barksdale Air Show will be in full swing. The Navy Blue Angels will once again be making a special appearance which is sure to amaze all in attendance! Set for Saturday May 2nd and Sunday May 3rd, the air show will begin at 11am on both days. This is always a great event and something that many..many people from all around our region look forward to attending. Besides all of the fun and festivities and the fact that Barksdale Air Force Base is essentially hosting a public open house during the air show, there is also a huge economic impact factor made upon Bossier City-Shreveport as a result of the air show.

RandyI have often wondered when the Barksdale Air Show actually began. For sure, I remember the air show from when I was a child growing up in the late 1960”s and 70’s. I also remember that for many years, the air show was a part of the annual Holiday-In-Dixie Festival celebrated in our area each and every April. As a child, three things kind of went together in my mind at this time of year: Holiday-In-Dixie (and the associated carnival on the Shreveport downtown riverfront and of course, the treasure hunt), the Barksdale Air Show, and Elementary School “Field Day”). All of these events were associated at one time and took place together over the span of a couple of weeks during late Spring.  As a kid, you really look forward to these kinds of events!! However, as I asked above, when did the BAFB Air Show actually begin? I did some research on this and much to my surprise, I found out that the roots of the Barksdale Air Force Base Air Show trace all the way back to February of 1933 when BAFB held it’s dedication ceremony. According to information that I found on BAFB’s website, some 60,000 people attended the air show that day and as we all know, the attendance numbers have grown by leaps and bounds ever since. I remember that we ran a special edition on the 80th Anniversary BAFB air show back in 2013, but even then, it did not actually sink into my mind that the roots of the air show trace all of the way back to the beginning of BAFB. I have always thought that the air show was something that came along at a later time.

Well, again, what a huge impact (both socially and economically) the BAFB Air Show has made upon our entire area over the last 82 years! The BAFB Air Show is a bright shining star on the list of the many major successes that our area has achieved! It is something to be celebrated! And, I can tell you for sure, I will spend some time on both Thursday and Friday afternoons later this week looking skyward (as I always do during this time) – as practice for the air show begins. To me, the BAFB Air Show has always been sign of late Spring….and the soon to come Memorial Day weekend and the beginning of Summer. So, long live the Barksdale Air Force Base Air Show. Thank you to the people that organized the BAFB Air Show some 82 years ago and also, thank you to all of those that have been a part of keeping it going for all of these years!

Randy Brown is Publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He can be reached at rbrown@bossierpress.com

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