Thousands converge on Mound for biennial air show
Published 6:51 pm Saturday, October 15, 2016
The early morning skies across the Delta were streaked with smoke Saturday while the whir of airplane engines marked the beginning of the second day of the Southern Heritage Air Foundation’s Best Little Air Show in the World.
“Our gate was 400 times what it was in 2014 (last night),” Patty Mekus, the foundation’s president, said of the Friday night showing. “Last time we raised about $1,800 at the gate. Last night it was close to $6,000. We’re expecting that today or better.”
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This year’s event, held at the Vicksburg-Tallulah Regional Airport in Mound, La., featured new aerial acts, an expanded kids’ zone, more vendors and a Lamborghini and Ferrari for people to drive in addition to staples like the aerobatics team and the fire jet truck.
The air show proved to be a draw for adults and children alike.
Stephanie Miller of Epps, La., said her whole family enjoyed the event.
Her son, Branson, said his favorite part was “when they jumped out of the planes,” and Miller said her daughter, Aniston, likes the planes that go in the “loopy loops.”
While some went for a family outing, others went to the air show to support family.
Colton Andrews of Monroe, La., said he wants to be a pilot like his grandfather, who flies the “loopy loops” that Miller’s daughter loves as part of the AeroShell Aerobatics Team.
His mother, Laura, said her three children were dressed in pilot garb in support of their grandfather.
“You got to look like a pilot if your Papa is a pilot,” she said, noting she had cooler clothes for them to change into if needed.
Colton’s Papa, Jimmy Fordham, said he has been a solo pilot since 1969 and started flying with the acrobatic team in 2010. He said having all eyes on him and his team doesn’t worry them much.
“When we take off, we’re in our own little world,” he said. “When you’re 12 feet from another airplane, you’re not thinking about much else.”
Back on the ground, visitors to the air show got up close and personal with stationary vintage planes and bought lunch in preparation for the noon start to the show.
“It’s been steady,” said William Henderson of Smoke and Smoke Catering, one of the food vendors. “We’re doing wide open right now and doing our best to keep up.”
In addition to the vendors, Mekus said about 45 volunteers on Friday night and about 120 volunteers on Saturday kept the event running smoothly.
“They all know what they’re supposed to do, so they are awesome,” she said.
All proceeds for the Best Little Air Show in the World supports the Warrior Bonfire Project, an organization that benefits members of the U.S. Military who have been wounded in combat. Mekus said they hope to exceed the $22,000 the show raised the year before last.
“It’s definitely growing,” she said.