The Wings Over Homestead air show is back with a roar.
The Air Force Thunderbirds will tear across the sky. The Army Golden Knights parachute team will freefall from thousands of feet in the air. And on the ground, war planes new and old will be on display.
After a year-long hiatus while preparing for inspections, the Homestead Air Reserve Base will open its gates this weekend to an estimated 400,000 people for the free show.
“It’s about showing the capabilities of the base … and fostering relationships with the people we live next to and work with,” base spokesman Ross Tweten said.
The air show all but stopped for 17 years after Hurricane Andrew pummeled the city of Homestead and flattened the Air Force base there. The base was subsequently downgraded to a reserve base.
The base continued on, but was largely forgotten by the community. So Brig. Gen. William Binger, the commander at the time, revived the air show in 2009 to draw people and attention to Homestead again.
Now, the base is growing with tenants, including Customs and Border Patrol, the Coast Guard, Special Operations Command South and others.
And, for the first time since Andrew, the base welcomed active-duty airmen this year. More than 50 are already on base, and about 150 more are expected by next summer, Tweten said.
“We’re definitely a dynamic base, and we continue to get larger and we continue to expand the base’s mission,” Tweten said.
Homestead officials aren’t releasing schedules for the acts, saying show times are dependant on many factors and are likely to change.
Gates open at 8 a.m. and demonstrations take place through 4:30 p.m., but no one will be let in after 3 p.m. Parking on base is free, but fills up fast.
For information, visit www.wingsoverhomestead.com.
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