Here’s another excuse to get away to Steamboat for Labor Day weekend: the Wild West Air Fest. The air show takes place at Steamboat Springs Airport, just minutes north of town, on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 30-31.
New this year will be the event’s first air show, a full hour each day of aerobatic flying featuring maneuvers from Rocky Mountain Renegades, aerobatic competition champion Don Nelson in his Sukhoi, and famed pilot Dagmar Kress performing in her bright red Pitts biplane. Kress is a national aerobatic champion and a former member of the German acrobatic flying team.
Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6 to 12 and free for children under 5. The air shows will take place at 11:30 a.m. each day.
The weekend will include presentations from speakers like Nissa Brodman, a Steamboat Springs native and 2005 West Point graduate who flew Blackhawk helicopter medivac extractions in Afghanistan. Humorous and entertaining pilot Ian Runge will share his perspective on flying his single engine plane over 11,000 miles of ocean in a talk appropriately titled, “You’ve got to be nuts!” For the children, the puppet pilot Wingnut (brought along by ventriloquist and comedian Wayne Francis) will be on hand.
You can also reserve a ride in a historic plane, such as a 1941 Piper J-3 Cub, 1943 Beechcraft C-45J, Long Ranger helicopter or 1945 TBM Avenger.
When you’re done at the air show, downtown Steamboat Springs hosts the Labor Day Sidewalk Sale, which offers deals on souvenirs and outdoor wear. At the Downtown Hoedown and Chuckwagon Chili Challenge on Sunday, you’ll have a chance to taste the authentic local home-cooked comfort food and dance to live music. Then on Sunday evening, cowboy up at the Rocky Mountain Bull Bush, a professional bull riding event featuring some of the top cowboys in the world.