Every summer down in Battle Creek, the Air Show and Balloon Festival is held around the 4th of July. I've thought about checking it out in the past but never got around to planning a trip, but this year I spent a few hours visiting.
I have fond memories of attending air shows when I was younger, living out in Oregon. (Well, fond except for the sunburn.) I'm not enough of a airplane enthusiast to go well out of my way for a show, but since this one is only about an hour from home I decided to check it out.
A friend and I made the drive down to Battle Creek on Saturday, which this year was early in the festival. Things generally peak on July 4th, but we were happy to go on an earlier day and avoid the worst of the crowds. There were still plenty of people wandering around, but we didn't have to wait very long in any lines - just about the best we could hope for.
The festival name is a bit of a misnomer since there's a lot going on that's not in the air. The main attraction is the aerial acts, of course, but there's also a live music stage, carnival rides, half-mile car races, and even timber sports. And of course, plenty of vendors.
I was a little surprised that there weren't more planes on display on the ground. The Air Force recruiting area had one, but otherwise all the vehicles on display were cars. Guess the organizers decided not to move display models around from nearby museums.
We got to see several planes in the air, though no balloons (they were scheduled for several hours after we left). I particularly liked Kent Pietsch's act featuring a landing on top of an RV driving along the runway. The Air Force heritage flight was pretty neat, too, with a WW II-era plane flying in formation with a an F-22 fighter jet.
I had a good time for my first visit to this air show festival. I'll probably go back in the future, maybe planning a visit so I'll catch the balloon launch.