COLUMBIA — Starting Saturday, the city will be in full swing with a Memorial Day weekend celebration.
The Memorial Day Weekend Salute to Veterans Corporation is sponsoring its 25th annual Two-Day Salute to Veterans Airshow at the Columbia Regional Airport. The show will be from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission and parking will be free.
The show will feature the following team and aircraft demonstrations:
- The Aeroshell 4-Ship World War II North American AT-6 Texan Aerobatic Demonstration Team
- The World War II B-25 Mitchell Bomber "Show Me" and the World War II P-51 Mustang "Gunfighter"
- Trojan Phlyers Aerobatic Demonstration Team in World War II USAF and USMC T-28 Aircraft
- World War II Army Air Corps BT-13 Vultee in "Valiant Echoes"
- World War II USN SNJ-Texan Aerobatic Demonstration
- All Veterans Parachute Team
- The SkyHawks: Canadian Forces Parachute Team
- World War I Kansas City Dawn Patrol replicas
- USA K-9 Demonstration Team
- World War II Tuskegee Airmen and Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP) reunions
The following items can be brought to the air show:
- Folding chairs, as there will be no seating provided
- Rain gear (no umbrellas)
- Sun screen and other protective sun gear
- Hearing protection (The air show could be too loud for small children.)
The follow items should not be brought to the air show:
- Picnic baskets
- Alcoholic beverages
- Bikes, scooters, roller blades and other similar items
- Patrons should refrain from smoking within the air show area.
Shuttle buses will be available at 9 a.m. for $3 from Hearnes Center and the Jefferson City Airport. Handicapped accessible buses will also be available.
Because there will be no seating at the show, collapsible strollers and folding chairs will be permitted, but coolers, picnic baskets, alcoholic beverages, bikes, scooters, roller blades, pets and smoking will not be allowed.
The World War II P-51 Mustang known as "Gunfighter" will be the show's signature aircraft and will perform an aerobatic demonstration. Gunfighter was the first aircraft to fly over the 1989 parade down Broadway along with the World War II B-25 Mitchell Bomber called "Showme."
The two planes will join forces for a heritage flight during the air show.
The air show finale will feature a mass parachute jump including the All Veteran Parachute Team based in North Carolina and The Canadian Forces Parachute Team known as The SkyHawks.
There will be a banquet at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Mizzou Arena. Tickets can be purchased for $45. Grammy-nominated, singer-songwriter Dwayne O'Brien will perform "We Remember" following a military and aviation memorabilia auction.
The Salute to Veterans Parade will start at 10 a.m. Memorial Day in The District. The All Veteran Parachute Team and the SkyHawks will start the parade at 9:55 a.m. by landing on Broadway.
Following the parade, there will be a Memorial Day ceremony at the Boone County Courthouse Veterans' Memorials. The Columbia Community Band will perform, and wreaths will be placed at the Veterans' Memorials of World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm.
Gen. Frank J. Grass of the Army, who is also chief of the National Guard Bureau and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will make a speech about the meaning of Memorial Day at the ceremony.
Following the Boone County Fire Protection District Bagpipers' performance of "Amazing Grace," The Veterans of Foreign Wars will perform a 21-gun salute. The ceremony will end with echo taps.
In observance of Memorial Day, city offices will be closed; Columbia Transit buses will not operate; parking meters will not be enforced; and trash and recycling pickup will be postponed by a day.
Supervising editor is Jeanne Abbott.