Florida International Air Show amazes crowds in its 37th year

Reporter: Anika Henanger
Published: Updated:
Photo via the Florida International Air Show
Photo via the Florida International Air Show

Roaring in, from the sky, on the ground and everywhere in between — the Florida International Air Show brought all the tricks for its 37th year at the Punta Gorda Airport.

It brought the crowds, too.

“One of the reasons we love airshows,” Matt Parrish said, U.S. Special Operations Command first sergeant, “is we get to be up close and personal.”

Parrish parachuted during the show and landed to a crowd of onlookers, who soon became part of the team.

“The kids helped me pack my parachute,” Parrish said. “It’s my favorite thing.”

Having everyone involved is critical to boosting turnout, according to event organizers. While it does not have a final count on visitors, they are hoping for an even larger turnout than the previous years.

“It’s a lot bigger because they’re using the entire airstrip, the runway,” Bob Merila said, a self described airshow aficionado, who resides in Bradenton.

Others that came out to the performance, weren’t necessarily there to critique the performance. They just wanted to join an engaging experience with some delicious food on a beautiful weekend with friends and family.

“Brautwerst with onions and peppers and a little dab of mustard,” Wendy Pacific said, who lives in Englewood, as she described her meal before devouring it during the Sunday performance.

The Florida International Show is hoping to have the total number of visitors of the three day event counted by an independent survey in the upcoming weeks. What the organization already knows is that the turnout was bigger than years past.

“Kids of all ages love it,” Matt Parrish said. “From 90 on down to 6 months.”

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