MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --
The sounds of aircraft engines, the smell of turkey legs grilling and cheese curds frying, with squeals of excitement from children, these were just some of the sights, smells and sounds of Northern Neighbors Day 2016 on Saturday.
For the first time in seven years, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota brought back the Northern Neighbors Day Air Show and hosted more than 10,000 attendees.
“The show was a resounding success,” said Pat Travnicek, Northern Neighbors Day Air Show deputy director. “After not having a show in seven years the public was ready to visit the base and it showed.”
The air show allowed civilians on base to see the capabilities of the Air Force while interacting with active duty personnel.
“Minot Air Force Base hosts open houses to enhance the public awareness of Air Force preparedness, to demonstrate modern weapon systems and capabilities, to promote positive community and international relations, to showcase our Airmen and to support Air Force recruiting and retention,” Travnicek said. “Opening Air Force bases to the public provides opportunities for education and generates interest in the military and its role in national security.
Travnicek said that he was pleased with the way the show went and the attendees agreed with him.
“It was a great day and the air show was amazing! My whole family enjoyed it so much!” wrote an enthusiastic attendee on Facebook.
“This was amazing! So glad to see it back. We really missed it. What a way to welcome my almost 2 year old to them. He was enthralled with the F-16 show. He fought me covering his ears. Thank you so much!” agreed another person on Facebook.
Although there were many great acts throughout the day, Travnicek feels there were a few that stood out to the crowd.
“The F-16 demo and the Golden Knights were the headliners, but I heard great comments on the B-52 and B-2 flyovers,” Travnicek said. “Also seeing the P-51 Spitfire and the P-40 fly gives you a great sense of military aviation history. It’s hard to pick one event as the most popular. The open house committee tried very hard to provide something for everyone and I think we succeeded.”
Even though Travnicek couldn’t pick just one thing that stood out for others, he does have one personal favorite moment from the air show himself.
“As I looked over the crowd on Saturday afternoon, I realized how important it is to the community to come out and see what the Air Force does to defend the United States,” Travnicek said. “the Northern Neighbors Day Open House gave the public a chance to see not only what Minot Air Force Base does on a daily basis, but what the Air Force does worldwide. The ability to get up close to the static displays and see the military aircraft past and present fly gives the public better appreciation of what the military does to protect their freedom.”
With NND in the rearview mirror, Travnicek is already preparing for the next air show for Minot AFB, and he said it will be bigger and better.
“We are already working on the 2018 show,” the deputy director said. “The Thunderbirds have been requested and we have high hopes of being selected to host them in 2018. More food vendors, more static displays and a single ship demonstration team in addition to the Thunderbirds are several big things being worked for the 2018 show.”