New attractions coming to Duluth Airshow

After a record-breaking year in 2021, the 13th annual event will be July 16-17 at the Duluth International Airport.

A white, red and blue USAF jet flying through the sky while trailing moisture
Moisture condenses around one of the Air Force Thunderbirds as it takes a tight turn over the Duluth International Airport in 2016. The plane was traveling at Mach 0.94 or about 721 mph.
Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune
We are part of The Trust Project.

DULUTH — The United States Air Force Thunderbirds will again soar over the city during the 13th Duluth Air and Aviation Expo on Saturday, July 16, and Sunday, July 17.

“We have been working with the F-35 Demo Team since January of this year and were told that the F-35 team was slated to headline an air show in the United Kingdom the weekend of our event," Airshow President Ryan Kern said in a news release Thursday.

Minnesota debuts from the sky will include the tandem-style YAK 110 aircraft, aerobat Jessy Panzer, the MIG-17 and A1 Skyraider.

Local aviation industries will also be highlighted, such as the U.S. Air Force F-16 from the Minnesota Air National Guard 148th Fighter Wing and the Cirrus SF-50 jet.

“So many local people are attached to someone in the industry,” said Lindsay Kern, outreach director of the Duluth Airshow.


Miss Belle is a vintage military aircraft. She was also the last C-1A to retire from the Navy after serving from 1958 to 1988.

Gates open at 9 a.m. to allow audience members to find parking and seating before flying starts at 11 a.m. Attendees are also encouraged to check out static displays and meet pilots before the show, which ends at 4:30 p.m.

Organizers anticipate a “normal”-sized crowd in comparison to last year, where over 30,000 audience members attended — the airshow's largest turnout on record.

While Saturday tends to be the busier of the two days, Lindsay Kern encourages Duluth residents to attend on Sunday in order to alleviate increased traffic.

Kylie Forte, 10, takes in the view from an Air Force C-130 at the Duluth Airshow in 2019.
Ellen Schmidt / File / Duluth News Tribune

Approximately 500 volunteers will help put on the show this year. Ryan Kern said that's a comfortable number, but they can always use more help.

He also said performances will continue through rain if visibility is clear. Because attractions are both on ground and in the air, organizers are able to adjust the show’s schedule in case of poor weather.

Lindsay Kern still suggests that attendees come fully prepared for rain or shine. “Sunscreen, rain jackets and comfortable shoes are essential,” she said.

Parking tends to be one of the main issues organizers face because parking spots tend to be far away from the viewing area. They want attendees to know there are options, including a shuttle that transports attendees to and from their parking spots.

The area is also on pavement, so organizers are hoping those transporting on wheels will have an easier time getting around compared to shows that take place on grass.


Lindsay Kern also suggests people wear ear protection, whether that be ear plugs or headphones — especially for young children. “It is much louder than you will anticipate,” she said. The sponsor for the show, Essentia Health, will be providing free ear plugs for when jets boom overhead.

Tickets went on sale in November and will be sold through the weekend. Tickets and parking passes are available at and the day of the event. General admission tickets and kids’ passes are also available at all Menards locations in Minnesota.

Peyton Haug is a former intern reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
What to read next
Gay and bisexual men had once been barred from donating blood due to HIV concerns. After easing the restrictions over time, the FDA may significantly ease the restrictions once again to expand the donor-eligible population.
They're scheduled to begin Monday at 9 a.m. in Cook, Itasca and St. Louis counties, on Tuesday in Koochiching County, and on Wednesday morning in Lake County.
Carnahan’s lawsuit alleges she was improperly disparaged in violation of a separation agreement
ATV use has surged as an outdoor recreational activity across the state