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Salute the Troops Air Show this weekend
061308 AIR SHOW 5
As a preview for the Salute to the Troops Airshow Saturday, three members of the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team perform a barrel roll in their North American AT-6 trainers while in formation during a demonstration Friday at the Midcoast Regional Airport at Fort Stewart. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff
    The sky is the limit for Liberty County's first annual Salute the Troops Air Show this weekend.
    An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people are expected to attend the air show honoring Fort Stewart troops who recently returned from Iraq. The show is set for Saturday and Sunday at Midcoast Regional Airport, adjacent to Fort Stewart. Activities get underway at 10 a.m. each day.
    Cindye Jones, director of the Liberty County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the county is expecting "overwhelming success,"with distributing sites and Internet advanced ticket vending "going really well."
    Fort Stewart soldiers, the show's guests of honor, have also been responsive in purchasing tickets for the big weekend, according to Edie Ramsey, administrative assistant at the Morale, Welfare and Recreation's Leisure Activities Center on the Hinesville base.
    Based on the feedback she is getting over the counter, she believes the soldiers are "really looking forward to it (air show)," and bringing the whole family.  
"It'll be a fun weekend for everybody," Ramsey said.
    To help make the weekend more enjoyable, Jones reminds goers to bring the necessities to be comfortable while watching the show, such as foldable chairs, shade umbrellas and sunscreen.
    "Kind of the same thing as if you were to go to the beach or an outdoor concert," she said.
    Like any outdoor entertainment, locals will not be the only spectators.  
    "Advertising has gone all the way down to Kingsland and all the way west as Macon," Jones said. "So we're expecting people from everywhere."
    The show is bringing in renowned performers with reputations for putting on thrilling and, sometimes, amusing stunts.
    "A lot of the air show performers have very loyal followings so they're fans will travel quite a distance to come see them," she said.
    The show will be at the Midcoast Regional Airport, which recently became the closest joint use civilian and military airport.
    The airport's fixed base operations manager, Mark Davidson, and Bobbi Thompson with Airport Business Solutions Aviation Management Services are excited to host the community event.
    "We think it so very, very important to have this event (for) all the folks from the 3rd ID who are returning home from, in some cases, two years of over in Iraq," Thompson said. "It's a way to have a big bash and say welcome home."
    Besides amazing aerobatics, Thompson said festivities will cater to all interests and ages, including face painting, flying simulators and parachuting.
    "It's very much a family event," she said. "For the price of the ticket it's a lot easier to enjoy a full five-hours of entertainment that's cheaper than just about anything you can do."
With 25 vendors expected, the show will be complete with "lots of good food to eat, from shrimp and barbeque to Sno-Cones and ice cream."
    "It's a good time," Thompson said. "Just come and enjoy yourself."
    Air show parking will be at Donovan Field on Fort Stewart with shuttle transportation provided to the airport.
    Coolers and outside food or drink will not be allowed.
    Gates open at 10 a.m. and opening ceremonies will begin at 11:30 a.m.
    Tickets are $12 for the general public, $10 for active duty military and children 12 and under are admitted free.