The skies come alive with colorful, somersaulting planes, and the buzz of antique aircraft fills the air at this weekend's 2006 St. Petersburg Air Fest.
Spectators enjoy live air shows by three-time National Aerobic Champion Patty Wagstaff, who executes low-level, "rock and roll"-style acrobatics in her German 300S; John Mohr, who's known for performing extremely difficult maneuvers in his restored, 1943 Stearman biplane; Jim "Fang" Maroney, a former F-16 pilot who uses his aeronautical/mechanical engineering degree and an impressive military flying career to carry out precise stunts in his 1956 Dehavilland Super Chipmunk; and the Red Baron Pizza Squadron. Other diversions include F-15 and marine amphibious assault demonstrations; a special show by the Southern Command Skydivers; a United States Coast Guard Open House (Saturday only); static displays of WWII aircraft, a Vietnam-era OV-1 Mohawk and military vehicles; an antique and classic car show; cockpit photo opportunities; helicopter rides; an Airfest Marketplace of arts, crafts and aviation-related products; live music; food; and a Kids Zone of rides, games and exhibits.
Proceeds from the fest benefit All Children's Hospital, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast, Family Resources and the Pinellas Association for Retarded Children (PARC).
2006 St. Petersburg Air Fest, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun., Oct. 21-22, Albert Whitted Airport, 107 Eighth Avenue S.E., downtown St. Petersburg, $15 adults/$5 ages 6-12 (flightline bleachers seats an additional $10; children 5 and younger enter for free), 727-204-6282 www.stpetersburgairfest.com. For folks with extra cash and a desire to watch the fest from the water, the historic SS American Victory anchors next to The Pier in Tampa Bay. The $100 ticket includes a continental breakfast, hearty box lunch, live entertainment, ship tours, weaponry and marlinspike demonstrations, memorial services and dramatic re-enactments (9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat., Oct. 21). Tickets can be ordered by visiting www.americanvictory.org; for more information, call 813-228-8766.