ROME — The annual Wings Over North Georgia Air Show will move to a drive-in format this year.
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will headline Georgia’s Premier Tailgate Party at Oct. 24 and 25 in Rome. To provide a safe environment for air show attendees, the 2020 event will move to a drive-in format for the air show, offering spectators a mix of social distancing while watching some of the top military and civilian aviation performers.
“Many events and most air shows have been forced to cancel during the pandemic,” said John Cowman, president of JLC AirShow Management and organizer of WONG 2020. “My team and I have worked diligently with local and regional officials and authorities to find creative and safe ways to host this year’s air show and avoid cancellation. We transitioned to a drive-in air show model that fully satisfies the wide range of safety concerns while allowing us to bring exciting entertainment at a family-style venue to the residents of the tri-state area. We believe this is the ‘shot in the arm’ our community needs right now, especially during the fall, one of the most beautiful times of the year in our area.”
Russell Regional Airport will be transformed to a giant drive-in style parking lot for the two-day event. There will be a limited number of tickets that must be purchased in advance. Tickets will not be sold onsite during show days. General airfield parking tickets will be sold for $130 per vehicle with a limited number of front row airfield parking tickets for $300 per car. There will be no restrictions on the number of people admitted per car as long as there are as many installed seatbelts as passengers.
Each car will be parked in order of arrival and assigned a 10’ x 20’ space for the vehicle with an adjacent 10’ x 20’ private space for tailgating. The single front row spots will have an additional 100 sq. ft. of space. Guests are allowed to bring their own chairs, tables, non-alcoholic beverages, and food. Beverages and food will also be available for sale on site. Portable restrooms will be stationed throughout the parking lots for easy access. Attendees must remain in their assigned parking spot unless using the restroom or purchasing food or beverages. For a full list of permitted and restricted items and rules, please visit Wings Over North Georgia for more details.
The Thunderbirds will serve as the headlining and final performers on Saturday and Sunday in their six signature red, white and blue F-16 Falcons. The USAF Thunderbirds are internationally known for their hard-charging demonstration of precision formation flying, pushing their F-16 “Fighting Falcons” to the limit. Known as “America’s Ambassadors in Blue,” the Thunderbirds have traveled throughout the world performing before millions of spectators. Their precise flying routines make the Thunderbirds a must-see at 2020 Wings Over North Georgia Air Show.
The U.S. Army Golden Knights and the U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II Demonstration Teams will round out the lineup of military performers.
Opening ceremonies will begin each day with the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team. The elite group of skydivers will launch the start of aerial performances during the national anthem and will later return for a full demonstration highlighting the skill and expertise of the world’s top military parachutists.
The Golden Knights have performed and competed for more than 50 years at more than 16,000 shows in all 50 states and 48 countries.
The A-10 Thunderbolt Demonstration Team served as co-headliners for the 2018 WONG Air Show. The aircraft offers a number of unique capabilities such as rapid roll rates, low and high-speed maneuverability, and short takeoffs and landings, making it an invaluable close-air support asset. The jet is designed for close air support (CAS) of friendly ground troops, attacking armored vehicles and tanks, providing quick-action support against enemy ground forces. It entered service in 1976 and is the only production-built aircraft that serve the USAF designed solely for CAS. Capt. Cody “ShIV” Wilton is the pilot for the A-10 Demonstration Team.
Airport parking lots will open at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. There will be pre-show aerial demonstrations for those arriving early. Opening ceremonies will kick-off each day around 12:30 p.m. The Wings Over North Georgia airshow is an FAA, DoD, and International Council of Air Shows approved event. For information on drive-in parking tickets, event FAQs, and a complete list of performers, follow the air show’s Facebook page or visit the Wings Over North Georgia website at https://www.WingsOverNorthGeorgia.com.