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Big bunch of 'Sho'-offs

Plan well. Arrive early. Enjoy. And try not to strain your neck. That's the message Fargo AirSho planners have for those expected to flock to the 2002 edition of the aerial event. The show kicks off at 11 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday at Hect...

Plan well. Arrive early. Enjoy. And try not to strain your neck.

That's the message Fargo AirSho planners have for those expected to flock to the 2002 edition of the aerial event.

The show kicks off at 11 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday at Hector International Airport in Fargo with a skydiving demonstration and is scheduled to close at 3:30 p.m. with a sky-scorching performance by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.

A volunteer committee organized the first Fargo AirSho in 1989. The inaugural event featured the U.S. Air Force's Thunderbird precision flight team.

The second AirSho was held in 1995.


The third AirSho was the committee's most successful. Held in the summer of 1997, it featured the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and attracted an estimated 20,000 over a two-day weekend run.

The committee lost $30,000 in hosting the 1999 Fargo AirSho. Although it lacked a big-name military team, it featured many of the best in the air show business.

AirSho committee co-chairmen Dick Walstad and Darrol Schroeder said that this year's show -- weather cooperating -- should be the best yet.

In addition to the famed Blue Angels, AirSho 2002 features a number of notable acts:

E Skydive Fargo, and their daring North Dakota record free-fall formation attempt.

E The North Dakota Air National Guard 119th Fighter Wing's own "Happy Hooligans" and their F-16 Fighting Falcons.

E The Minot, N.D., family aerobatic team of Kent and Warren Pietsch.

E Dan Buchanan's "Flying Colors" hang-glider show.


E Casselton, N.D., flying whiz Jim "Fang" Maroney and his Super Chipmunk.

E Scott Hammock and Smoke-N-Thunder, his 300-mph jet-engine dragster.

Armies of volunteers make it happen.

Tim Lee, North Dakota State University chief of police, serves on the AirSho committee's traffic committee.

AirSho spectators, especially those coming from inside the metropolitan Fargo-Moorhead area, should expect some traffic congestion on their way to the show, Lee said.

Notable this year, as compared to past years, is that the 2002 show is being staged from the east side of Hector's main north-south runways.

Fargo's 19th Avenue North, which runs east and west on the south side of the airport, will be closed from University Drive to Interstate 29. The closures will last from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

In general, Lee said, Fargo-Moorhead residents should use in-town routes while those traveling from outside the city should use the interstates and follow traffic signs and directions from law enforcement agencies.


Fargo Transit hopes to ease traffic congestion on Saturday by operating an extra bus.

It will run every 30 minutes between the downtown Ground Transportation Center and the airport. Service on the extra route runs between 7:45 a.m. and 6 p.m. Cost is 50 cents each way.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol, Cass County Sheriff's Department, Fargo Police Department, North Dakota State University Police Department, Civil Air Patrol and Fargo-Moorhead EVAC will be involved in traffic and crowd control.

Most attendees should plan on parking and then either walking a distance or catching a free shuttle bus to the show.

Handicapped drivers, or those driving vehicles with handicapped passengers, will be able to use a handicapped parking area or use a drop-off zone by the old Hector Terminal, Walstad said.

Some hangars will be open to provide relief from any heat, while the Fargodome would be the emergency site in case of dangerous weather, Lee said.

Looking to keep the kids busy during the show? Games to Go of Fargo will be on hand both days with 15 inflatable games.

Cost is $5 for a wrist band that lets your child play all day long, according to Dave Lerud of Games to Go.


Concession stands on site will be selling everything from bottled water and soda pop to beer. Stands will also offer hot dogs, hamburgers, other food items and souvenirs.

Readers can reach Forum Business Editor

Gerry Gilmour at (701) 241-5560

If You Go

What: 2002 Fargo AirSho

When: Saturday and Sunday. Gates open each day at 9 a.m.

Where: Hector International Airport, Fargo

Tickets: Still available at area Stop-N-Go stores, the Fargo Air Museum, Fargo Jet Center, West Acres and, in Grand Forks, N.D., at Valley Dairy stores.


What to bring:

- Blankets and lawn chairs (Most viewing areas are on the concrete, although grassy areas are available.)

- Hats

- Suntan lotion, sunscreen

- Hearing protection

- Cameras and binoculars

What to skip:

- Backpacks (diaper bags are OK)


- Coolers

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