HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (CNS) — The annual Pacific Airshow will begin Friday in Huntington Beach, with the event back in full swing following the COVID-19 pandemic and a massive oil spill that cut it short two years ago.
“The event has been through some setbacks,” event CEO Kevin Elliott told City News Service. “I took it over in 2018 and with only 100 days to go, I took it over and won the Air Force Show of the year that year.”
The show repeated that honor in 2019, Elliott said.
“It was the only air show to win that two years in a row,” he added. “Then, unfortunately, 2020 happens and we have to take the year off,” Elliott said, referring to the pandemic. “We were bound and determined not to lose the momentum we built.”
In 2021, the show featured concert performances, and it “shattered every record,” Elliott said. It was even broadcast nationally on Hulu.
“We were really cooking with gas,” he said.
But the last day of the show had to be canceled due to the oil spill in the waters off Huntington Beach.
“That knocked us back on our feet, but all the while we were working on Australia,” Elliott said of the company’s new air show Down Under.
“Now 2023 is a step further with the enhancements,” Elliott said. “We persevered through difficult times and we’re looking forward to putting it all in the rear-view mirror and never talking about it again.”
This year’s show will feature about 30 food trucks, a concert-grade sound system that’s almost a mile long and 60,000 square feet of flooring to make the event more accessible to the disabled, Elliott said.
Anyone in the area can enjoy the aerials for free, but Elliott encouraged aviation enthusiasts to buy a ticket for the gated area to help fund the show, which depends entirely on ticketing, and to enjoy the perks that go along with paid admission such as a beer garden and the chance to take photographs with some of the pilots.
“They’ll be landing a Robinson helicopter so the kids can take photos in it,” he said. “If dad wants to have a beer and throw a football with the kid while watching the airplanes, it’s all good.”
Next year, Elliott is planning to bring back the concerts.
“We’ve talked about it being more than just an air show,” he told CNS. “We’re really focused on the future and building the event.”
Some of this year’s performers will include the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, an F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team, Canadian Forces Snowbirds, the U.S. Army Golden Knights and U.S. Navy Parachute Team.