Thousands didn't show for air show

September 07, 1997


Staff Writer

A misleading sign of bad weather early Saturday might have kept thousands of people away from this weekend's Great Hagerstown Air Show on Saturday, said the event coordinator.

The early light rain cleared away in time for local skydivers to officially open the event early Saturday afternoon at the Washington County Regional Airport, which included aerial and static displays of about 50 nostalgic and modern aircraft.

As many as 6,800 people were estimated to have attended the air show on Saturday, said Fred K. Teeter Jr., event coordinator and executive vice president of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce. The chamber sponsored the air show.


A formal estimate was not available on Saturday night, but more than 2,000 tickets had been sold, Teeter said. It will be difficult to get a precise crowd count because some event volunteers didn't tear the stubs off of tickets as people entered, he said.

As many as 35,000 people were expected to attend the entire weekend.

Many of those who did attend were not disappointed by the air show, despite the cancellation of a F-117 stealth fighter fly-by and a mock dogfight between a Russian Mig-17 Fresco and a North American F-86F Sabre.

The Sabre had engine trouble, leading to the cancellation of the dogfight on Saturday and Sunday, Teeter said.

Teeter said he expects a larger crowd today. Sunday's events include a 1 p.m. B-2A stealth bomber fly-by.

Paul Peer, 31, of Greencastle, Pa., said he and his family might try to sneak a peak of the stealth bomber from the other side of the highway, avoiding the $8-per-adult ticket price on Sunday.

"We were really looking forward to seeing the stealth fighter" on Saturday, Peer said.

Clint Mowen, 62, of Hagerstown, said he would have enjoyed watching the dogfight, but thought the pilots and event staff put on a good show without it.

"I like aircraft, always have. I like the nostalgia of older aircraft. It's very meaningful," said Mowen.

Traffic was shut down for about 30 minutes on U.S. 11 between Basore Drive and Jarkey Drive during the Russian Mig aerial performance, said David Schultz, aviation coordinator.

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