Last Saturday, June 6, the Hebron Municipal Airport hosted the Nebraska State Fly-in and Air Show.
Thousands of people from all over the state and Kansas visited the airport to attend the event.
As was predicted, “between 2,500 and 3,000 people were at the event,” said Jeff Friesen, an event organizer. “I would say at least 2,000 … Our preparation for the number of people we expected worked out perfectly.”
“[Thayer County] Feeders served 300 meals,” said Steve Bateman, another event organizer, referring to the USO style dinner and show on Friday evening. “There were about 350 people there for the show.”
Audience members were treated to aerobatics, a car show, vendors, displays and much more that day.
“If you look beyond the event, there was great community spirit,” said Bateman. “The huge amount of involvement was pretty special.”
Event organizers thought the timing of the event provided a positive distraction from the recent storm and flooding the county experienced.
“It gave people a good outlook,” said Bateman.
Friesen was glad to hear that the day’s events inspired children to explore aviation.
One boy’s father reported to Friesen that his son had told him “I want to be a pilot. I want to fly airplanes.”
This was exactly the sort of interest organizers hoped to inspire.
“We’re promoting aviation,” said Bateman. “It’s important to keep that pipeline going.”
Nebraska officials such as Senator Laura Ebke, Missouri Congressman Sam Graves and Secretary of State John Gale were also in attendance.
Despite having weather setbacks and not being able to have the Rocky Mountain Renegades make it from Denver, “everything worked and everything flowed. It was really fun,” said Bateman.
Event organizers received a lot of positive feedback from participants.
“I had a blast. Awesome show from the county. Thanks to all who organized it,” wrote Tom Tipton on Facebook.
“We appreciated the coordination and cooperation of all parties involved throughout the county. We really enjoyed the event,” wrote Chris Lautner, also on Facebook.
But both Bateman and Friesen agreed that the event could not have occurred so successfully without the help from volunteers.
“We had so many people in the county helping out,” said Friesen. “We probably had about 500 people volunteer.”
“There’s loads of details that you can’t plan for: it’s constant decision making,” said Bateman. “We had the right people there to help out … Our sincere thanks to all who helped. The event far exceeded our expectations.”