Airborne entertainment this weekend | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Airborne entertainment this weekend

Sara Thompson / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Jim Grant / Tribune file photo

Thousands will gather to watch professionals jump out of planes, spiral aircraft toward the ground and take rides themselves.

The 20th annual Lake in the Sky Air Show is on Saturday, and it has grown to more than 10,000 spectators since it started as a five-day visit from the Confederate Air Force.

“There’s a change of flavor every year,” said Rick Jenkins, air show committee chairman. “We like to spice it up with new things.”

The second year of the air show featured static displays of warbirds and classic airplanes.

And in 1992, former members of the Airport Commission Donald Frier and Vern Dallman helped arrange a small air show, and it has continued to grow each year.

One of the main priorities was keeping the event affordable. Air show attendees can pay $10 to park at the airport, which includes admission for everyone in the vehicle, or pay $2 per person for walking, biking or taking the shuttle there.

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“I don’t know of anything a whole family could do for $10 for the day,” Jenkins said.

The event will have airplane and helicopter rides, skydiving performance, aerial stunts, a medical evacuation demonstration and much more, Jenkins said.

“There are so many different things, we want to make it attractive for everybody,” Jenkins said.

This will be the second year the air show will have Young Eagle Flights. Children ages 8 to 17 can take free airplane rides. The first session is from 7 to 9 a.m. and the second session is from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m.

Other rides will be offered from three different helicopters and two airplanes, Jenkins said. Riders have to pay for those flights, but they will be competitively priced he added.

This year a plane will fly into the airport while the air show is going on. A C-17 will arrive at 11 a.m. Jenkins said the plane has a 170-foot wingspan.

“It looks like it’s moving 10 miles per hour because of its size,” Jenkins said.

Aerial acrobatics are another popular attraction at the air show. Some of the pilot performers includes former U.S. Air Force pilot Bill Cornick, a Pitts S-2B Biplane pilot Spencer Suderman and Jon Melby, a freestyle aerobatic air show pilot.

Between 30 and 40 vendors will be at the air show, and about one third of them are nonprofits, Jenkins said.

Some of the service groups will be hosting events throughout the day, such as the Tahoe-Douglas Rotary Club Chili Cook-Off. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency will also have a booth to highlight the environmental improvements that have happened at the airport.

Free shuttle rides will be offered by BlueGO for event attendees, Jenkins said.

Even though Jenkins retired from his airport manager position, he said he still wants to help with the event.

“I have a passion for the airport and the community,” Jenkins said. “This is my way of giving back.”

Young Eagle flights begin at 7 a.m. and air show begins at 8 a.m. The opening ceremony is at 10:15 a.m., and the closing ceremony is at 3:30 p.m.

Parking is $10 at the Lake Tahoe Airport, and admission is included with the fee. Handicap parking is available at the Air Strip Entrance gate.

Walk-In admission is $2 for children 12 and older. Admission is free for younger children.

BlueGO and the city of South Lake Tahoe will sponsor a free Route 40 shuttle between the South “Y” Transit Station, the Lake Tahoe Airport and Meyers for those wanting to go to the Lake in the Sky Air Show on Saturday.

The shuttle will operate every 30 minutes starting at 8:15 a.m. from the “Y,” continuing to the airport, then to Lira’s Supermarket in Meyers.

The shuttle will continue until the last departure from the “Y” at 3:30 p.m., Meyers at 3:45 p.m. and Lake Tahoe Airport at 3:55 p.m.

No fare will be charged for the shuttle.

Timed connections with BlueGO Nifty 50 Trolley Route 30 at “Y” transit station will depart at 15 minutes past the hour between 9:15 a.m. and 5:15 p.m.