I was so enthusiastic about the Fargo Airsho that I bought tickets for both Saturday’s and Sunday’s shows. After all, the Airsho was cancelled in 2013 because of the Blue Angels’ cancellation due to politically motivated budget cuts. This time I was all set to have a blast with my best friend and my two little boys.
The Blue Angels were AWESOME. The fact that we entered through the Fargo Air Museum and were able to browse around there was an added bonus. The F-M Ambulance gang had brought a neat contraption: an EZ-Up canopy rigged with PVC pipe that misted people if they walked underneath, a sure necessity in the scorching heat of the weekend. The static displays and exhibits were really cool. I saw the largest UAV I’d ever seen, my boys got to peek into a Harrier cockpit, and my youngest even caught a frog (He does that everywhere. Seriously.).
So why didn’t we go back Sunday? Frankly, because of the view. Or shall I say, the lack thereof.
- Nearly the entire show line was lined with VIP canopy tents. There were two little corners where the little people could try to angle for a little bit of space with a view of the runway. Of course, most of the action on or just above the runway took place in a spot that we couldn’t even see. To make matters worse, my little kids could see even less due to their height.
- They were excited when they saw bouncy houses, and thought they could at least do that…but that was actually part of another HUGE corporate area that took up an enormous slot of space near the south end of the runway. What’s sad is that the inflatables appeared to go mostly unused throughout the day, although we saw other kids walking around the orange fence trying to find a way in.
- Apparently there was a rocket-powered bus and stuff. I heard it. For a second I actually caught a brief glimpse of it between two VIP canopies. My kids were out of luck.
- The aerobatics were really neat, and I guess they did some nice low passes along the runway. Never saw them.
- One of the pilots landed his airplane on a moving truck as it sped down the runway. Didn’t catch that either. I heard it on the PA system.
We braved the heat and had a good time, fortunately being at the south end of the runway when the Blue Angels started. Thankfully they did most of their maneuvers down on our end, so our day actually culminated in being able to actually see what was going on in the show.
When we woke up in the hotel room Sunday morning and began to review our plans for the day, the heat was a factor. I was ready to brave the heat and try to get their even earlier than before, to stake out the best spot I could manage despite all the Reserved areas. I left my camera behind on Saturday to scope things out for Sunday and enjoy the show with my children. But when we considered the fact that we couldn’t see much of the show anyway, we decided to just bag the entire thing out of frustration.
I was going to drive up to the airport and give my tickets to someone waiting in line, but we’d had such a poor experience with the lack of traffic management the morning before (shutting the road on us within sight of the FargoDome, even though we were there 45 minutes before show time) that we decided to just write it off and find something else to do.
So, if you’re considering going to the Fargo Airsho again in two years, you might want to do one of two things: make connections to get a corporate tent to sit under so you can actually see, or hold off on buying tickets until the Saturday show has commenced, so you can get a report on whether or not all the good viewing is out of your reach. If so, you can either stay home or park along a side street and get the same view for free and save $25 per ticket.