Dayton Air Show back this year, but only tailgate-style

Associated Press

Dayton, Ohio – The Dayton Air Show will go forward in July – but with reduced attendance and in drive-in style – after the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation last year of one of the nation’s most best-known aviation events.

Ohio’s current pandemic restrictions on large gatherings meant the show could not return to its previous format, Terry Grevious, the show’s executive director, told the Dayton Daily News on Wednesday.

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds solo pilots in the knife-edge cross-over at the 2009 Vectren Dayton Air Show in Dayton, Ohio on Saturday, July 18, 2009 in Dayton, Ohio.

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“We flipped the switch today to go from normal to drive-in, and there’s no turning back,” Grevious said.

Organizers expect to accommodate 4,000 cars a day, and there will be no aircraft on the ground this year, the newspaper reported.

Guests can buy a 20-by-20-foot (6-by-6-meter) private viewing area, “using half the area to park their car and the other half to view the show in tailgate fashion,” organizers said in a statement.

Announcers Rob Reider and Danny Clisham will broadcast the show over the public address system on show grounds, which are near the Dayton International Airport. The show will also be broadcast on FM radio, the newspaper reported.

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will headline the 47th anniversary of the annual event, which will take place on July 10-11.