TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – For the first time in almost 25 years, a large-scale air show will be coming to Topeka the same weekend as Country Stampede.
“Air shows are one of my favorite sporting events,” said Brooks Pettit, president of Vaerus Aviation.
Pettit grew up in an aviation family, with his father planning some of the largest air shows to ever come to Topeka in the late 1980’s and 1990’s.
Now, he is following in his father’s footsteps by bringing the Thunder Over the Heartland air show to Topeka.
“The adults that are in their 30s would have gone to these air shows as a kid. It’s been 25 years since we last had a full air show. Now they get to share that with their kids, and that’s the neat thing about being involved in a community event like this,” Pettit said.
People with a wristband to Country Stampede can attend the air show completely free of charge.
There, they can expect to be able to meet the pilots, tour the planes, see performances and races and maybe even take a rise for themselves.
“He’s [Pettit] going after some of the largest acts in the U.S. and Canada, and that’s very impressive. We’re going to start big from the beginning,” said Wayne Rouse, president of Country Stampede.
Both major events are expected to bring in thousands to Topeka, a sigh of relief following a difficult year caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Being down this year has been tough, but certainly things like this look to boost our recovery out of this and really slingshot us beyond what we’ve had this rough year,” said Sean Dixon, president of Visit Topeka.
With the future being uncertain, the air show team will follow county safety and health guidelines, Pettit said.
No matter what, the show will go on.
Artists featured at the Country Stampede include:
- Luke Combs
- Morgan Wallen
- Riley Green
KSNT and Fox 43 are the proud media sponsors of the event.