Skyfest shows off aircraft

The swirling tricks of a military helicopter spelling out "air show" had 5-year-old Choice Jennings IV jumping on his tiptoes with excitement.

"Ooh, look, it's spelling another letter," he shouted at Saturday's 16th annual Boshears Skyfest, which continues today at Daniel Field.

"He's losing his mind right now," said his dad, Choice Jennings III. "I brought him out here when he was 3, and he didn't pay it any attention. Now that he's older, he's really into it."

Saturday's event, which included about 40 aircraft on display and many other activities, was seen by nearly 12,000 people, said Allen Russell, an event ticket manager. Although Mr. Russell said turnout was about 3,000 less than last year's opening day, he said he expects Skyfest will be a success.

"It's an outstanding show that involves people from across the country," he said. "We never really care about making money off it. We do it every year, so we'll be able to bring it back the next year."

Most people who take part in Skyfest don't look for financial gain, said Bryan Carlton, who traveled from Lenoir, N.C., for the third time to display his three classic military airplanes.

The connection he finds with spectators, he said, makes his trip worth it each year.

"You see people who get tears in their eyes talking about how their dad used to fly this plane or their friend died in this kind of plane," he said. "It's hard to put a dollar amount on that."

Reach Stephanie Toone at (706) 823-3215 or stephanie.toone@augustachronicle.com.

If you go

WHAT: Boshears Skyfest

WHERE: Daniel Field

WHEN: Gates open today at 9 a.m.; today's opening ceremony takes place at 1:30 p.m. A worship service will be held at 8 a.m.

COST: $15; children 12 and younger admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Active-duty military price is $5, reserve and retired military $12; ID must be shown

LEARN MORE: www.boshears.com