air show · Day Trip · Denver · Eastern Colorado

September 2017: Pikes Peak Regional Airshow

For September’s Resolution Destination we decided to stay local. After a couple of months of what felt like endless travel back and forth between Texas and Colorado, we were looking for something a little less expensive and with little travel time

September also happens to be Cameron’s Dad’s birthday month. Cameron’s Dad is a big fan of aviation and because of this, a cherished Smith boy’s pastime was attending air shows. Corrie had never been to an air show before. And it just so happened that the Pikes Peak Regional Air Show was scheduled for late September. So it seemed like the perfect fall activity – celebrating Jim’s birthday and teaching Corrie the air show ways.

The day was a bit cooler than we would have liked. But we rose early anyway that Saturday and drove to Colorado Springs so we could enjoy a nice brunch with Cameron’s family before the show. Staying true to Cameron’s nature, we arrived at the restaurant about 15 minutes early and secured a table for the family in a quaint little French restaurant, one of Jim’s favorites. After the rest of the family arrived, we enjoyed a lovely meal and good conversation.

When brunch wrapped, we bundled up and headed over to the air show with Cameron’s dad, brother and sister-in-law. The flying schedule was set to be very extensive, but the low cloud ceiling and wind threatened to put a damper on things.

A-10 flying with WWII era P-38

We arrived in time to see many of the WWII warbirds flying and doing low passes for the large crowd. We toured the assembled static display aircraft (those not flying as part of the show) and Corrie got a taste of what it was like to be an aviation nut. If you’ve never been to an air show, you can imagine them as part county fair, part sporting event, and part NASCAR race. In addition to all the aircraft, there are large numbers of merchandise and food vendors assembled to cater to the throngs of people. Greasy and indulgent carnival food is the name of the game. In fact, in the blustery conditions Corrie managed to get covered in powdered sugar from a nearby funnel cake.

IMG_3930We eagerly awaited the Air Force Thunderbirds, the headline act, to get airborne and put on an impressive low altitude show. But as the afternoon went on, the weather continued to deteriorate. The cloud ceiling and temperature dropped, the wind picked up, and it began to spit rain. The MC of the show announced that flying was on hold until the cloud ceiling lifted. BUMMER! Not wanting to send the assembled crowd packing, the MC repeatedly pleaded, “don’t leave folks, the weather will get better, and the show will go on!” A quick check of the weather apps on our phones proved that would be highly unlikely, so reluctantly we called it a day, having only seen a couple hours of the show.IMG_3914

It was the best decision though. By the time we had made the slog back to the car, the weather was really getting crappy and it felt like it might snow. In the end, the weather put a damper on our plans, but we had a great family outing and Corrie got to experience something totally new! We were thankful we took the drive down to Colorado Springs and made the most of our plans that day.

Destination Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0

What We Learned

  • DO: try out an airshow if you’ve never been to one, especially if you like carnival food.
  • DO: include family in your resolution destinations.
  • DO: expect slow traffic on I-25 near Larkspur, EVERYDAY.
  • DON’T: walk downwind of funnel cakes.
  • DON’T: believe airshow MCs about weather forecasts.

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