Originally created 04/02/00

Activities keep spectators grounded during air show



The air show at Skyfest 2000 may have been the headliner Saturday at Augusta Regional Airport at Bush Field, but Jackie Thurmon could not have cared less.

The 5-year-old grinned from ear-to-ear as she rode in circles on the merry-go-round-like machine that required three tickets.

"This will keep her occupied for a while," her father, Johnny Thurmon, said. "I don't think she even cares about the airplanes."

For those like Jackie, there were rock climbing, speed ball and several inflatable rides for children and adults.

Katherine Windom spun around in one of the adult rides with her friend Cynthia Tate.

"I'm just having a little fun until the show starts," Ms. Windom said.

Baron Kencaid took off his shoes to step onto an inflated boxing ring. He challenged his son Brendan to a match, but the youth declined.

Payton Granade, 7, and her sister Cadle, 6, gave the show a thumbs up as they scampered from ride to ride trying to decide which one to go on first.

Lined up near the rides were a variety of aircraft.

Augusta resident Bill Gough pointed to and explained the techniques of the 55,000-pound B-17G "Flying Fortress" to his son Wade Scott and grandson Jeremiah Scott, 5.

Mr. Gough was a youngster himself when he saw plenty of the World War II aircraft land at a naval base near where he lived in Maryland.

"This is great," Mr. Gough said of the air show.

Mr. Scott said he had been waiting a long time for such a show to come to Augusta. He wasn't alone.

"We think a lot of the Blue Angels, my son is in the Naval Academy," said Betsy Hancock of Augusta. She wore a Navy T-shirt, necklace and was carrying a Navy cap.

Genelle Kirkland and her husband Herbert avoided the other activities and hunkered down in lawn chairs at the first row of the fenced-in gate where the Blue Angels would fly.

"We were in line at 7:50 a.m. and it took us about 40 minutes to get in," Mrs. Kirkland said. "It was bumper-to-bumper, go slow and stop, it seemed like we were moving nowhere fast, but it was worth it to get this close."

Reach Faith Johnson at (706) 823-3765.