Dayton Air Show returns to ‘normal’ format as restrictions ease

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Dayton Air Show organizers will return the summer event to its more normal format this year, a dramatic change from previously announced plans.

The show will fully reopen with a traditional show program with static display aircraft, specialty seating and a line-up of aerobatic performers, said organizers of the 2021 CenterPoint Energy Dayton Air Show.

This year’s show will be headlined by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds on July 10 and 11 at the Dayton International Airport.

ExploreThe earlier plan: This year’s Dayton Air Show to cut attendance and offer ‘drive-in’ format

Organizers said the change was inspired by Gov. Mike DeWine’s announcement that Ohio health restrictions will end June 2.

“We are back to a normal show,” Scott Buchanan, chairman of the U.S. Air and Trade Show board of trustees, said in a release. “We’re so excited to return and give the people of Dayton an outdoor summer event to enjoy with family and friends. We have an incredible lineup of performers, comfortable seating and delicious food and beverages, so come on out and enjoy summer.

“It’s been a long time since we have been able to do this,” he added.

In March, organizers said they had planned to reduce attendance at this year’s event to about 4,000 cars a day, parked in a tailgate-style spectator lot. With six passengers in each car, that would have meant up to 24,000 guests a day — a far cry from the average 60,000 to 70,000 people milling about on foot in typical years.

The show had also planned to nix static aircraft displays, another big change.

Guests were to drive on to show grounds near the airport, according to this initial plan, where visitors could watch from private 20x20 viewing areas. No one was to be allowed to walk in.

Tickets are on sale now at the show’s website, www.daytonairshow.com. Customers can use a print-at-home option on all website purchases.

Beginning June 1, customers can purchase discount general admission tickets at Kroger stores. This Kroger exclusive offers $3 off adult and children’s tickets at over 100 Kroger stores in the Dayton/Cincinnati region.

Any drive-in tickets purchased for the 2021 show will be automatically refunded, the show said.