Saturday, March 5, 2016

Air shows and events in the Washington DC region

If you're an aviation enthusiast or just like to see a good air show, there are plenty taking place in the Washington D.C. region. In this area, the shows typically start in May and run through October. From vintage to military, many of these shows will highlight and showcase a variety of aircraft.

Manassas Airport Regional Business Alliance (MARBA)

The annual air show in Manassas usually takes place in early May at the Manassas Regional Airport. This event is free to the public, but donations are taken at the gate. Every year the air show proceeds benefit charities, past non-profit beneficiaries have included The Freedom Museum, The Virginia Airborne Search & Rescue Squad and the Civil Air Patrol and Prince William/Manassas composite Squadron. 

There are usually security checkpoints when you enter the airfield. Food vendors will be onsite if you want to have lunch at the show. For more information, you can visit the official website for any updates or additional details on show participants.

Photo taken at 2012 air show

Flying Circus Air Show

For as long as I've lived in Virginia, the Flying Circus Air Show has been said to delight audiences with its performances from May through October. Opening day is typically in early May and shows will run until late October.  Visitors to the show can see vintage aircraft, parachute jumpers and "barnstorming".  The weekly shows are fun for all ages and you can check the Flying Circus calendar for any other special events happening this season (there is a hot air balloon festival every August, which is a 2-day event). The Flying Circus is located in Bealeton, Va.

Leesburg Air Show

The Leesburg Air Show takes place at the Leesburg Executive Airport. The show typically features various demonstrations, skydivers, exhibitions, acrobatics, aviation displays and much more. Last year included a car show. In past years the show has taken place in mid-September.

The event is free to the public, donations are welcomed. The show's promoters encourage visitors to the show to bring chairs and blankets to the show. The performers for the annual shows are typically listed on the official website. If not updated for this year, check back, usually, it updates as the show date comes closer.

Culpeper Air Fest

The annual Culpeper Air Fest typically takes place in October in Brandy Station, Va. at the Culpeper Regional Airport. The day's fun includes several events such as air acrobatics, aircraft displays, airplane rides, wing-walking, games for the kids and much more. The gates open early and buses start running to take people to and from the airport at this time. You can learn more about this year's lineup of performances on the air show's website

Image credit: Used with permission per the Culpeper media web page

Virginia Air Show and Air Show Week

This one takes place at the Front Royal-Warren County Airport, about 90 minutes west of Washington D.C. This show offers events in the days leading up to the show (these I've not attended, but have attended the air show itself). In the past, performances included military aircraft, hot air balloons, a gyrocopter, barnstorming, air acrobatics, antique autos and more. Check the website for updated information, this page usually is updated each year. The show usually takes place in late August or early September.

Dulles Day Plane Pull

Every year the Dulles Day Plane Pull takes place in September. This Special Olympics fundraiser features teams of 25 people pulling a 164,000+ pound Airbus 12 at the fastest rate. There is also live music, a car show, aircraft display and other family fun. Historically, this event takes place in mid to late September. For more information, check the official website 

Andrews Air Show


It's back! But not every year. Considered to be one of the major events in the D.C. area, shows were suspended in 2013 and 2014 due to government budget issues. Last year, in September, there was a show - I believe one typically runs every other year. The Andrews Air Show is next scheduled to take place in September 2017 and will coincide with the 70th Air Force Birthday.

(Want to see the Blue Angels in 2018? Check out their Facebook page)

Update July 2017: I was just reading the Wings and Wheel Expo is happening in September in Hagerstown, Md. Also, the U.S. Air Force's Thunderbirds schedule for 2018 is out. 

It's a bit early now for some of these shows, but it's never too soon to plan since they are big events in the area. If I come across any new shows added or ones I missed, I'll update this post. 

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