BATAVIA — As organizers gear up for the Wings Over Batavia air show next year, they’re seeking more than a few volunteers.
More details are emerging about the event set for Labor Day weekend next year. Organizers are planning a family-friendly event including propeller and jet-driven vintage warbirds, along with a variety of entertainment.
The event will also mark the return of an air show to Genesee County Airport for the first time in about 25 years.
“The show starts by recruiting community residents who are committed to providing a welcoming and safe family-friendly event,” said President Dennis Dunbar of Dunbar Air Shows, who is also serving as the event’s chairperson.
Besides vintage aircraft, the event will also feature aerobatic performers, skydivers, comedy acts and more.
“We’ve already received verbal commitments from many of the best air show performers in the country and we will be executing contracts with many of them in December at the International Council of Airshows annual convention in Las Vegas,” he said.
Organizers are also planning to include a nighttime show as part of the event.
“Some of our acts will actually fly with pyrotechnics coming from their airplanes at night while putting on pyrobatic demonstrations that are typically seen at the largest and best shows in the country,” Dunbar said.
It’s exceptionally hard to gauge how many people a start-up air show will attract, he said. Previous 1990s air shows in Batavia were often jam-packed with spectators who flocked to the airport.
“I’ve been involved in the organization of hundreds of shows, including many start ups, and we always prepare for more people than we expect to avoid potential traffic, parking and entrance delays,” Dunbar said. “Fortunately with online tickets gaining popularity some of the guesswork has decreased over the years and we’re better able to plan appropriately for the number of guests expected.
“I do know that the quality of the performers we are expecting to secure will draw crowds from a large radius to Batavia,” he continued. “So we expect a large financial impact on the community and an opportunity to show off this wonderful community.”
The Wings Over Batavia air show’s website is in the process of being created, he said. It will be updated regularly and more information will be released as it becomes available.
“We already know that we will have aircraft from as far west as California and as far south as Florida, so it’s safe to say we will have nationwide representation,” he said. “We’ve also requested support from our Canadian friends.”
Organizers are likewise putting the finishing touches on sponsorship packages and have already worked with Federal Aviation Administration for initial approval of its air show plan.
“After the New Year we will begin working diligently with local emergency and other entities to ensure a logistically smooth and safe event for our guests to enjoy,” Dunbar said. “Putting on a show like this is a community effort and we’re very fortunate to have the support of so many as we look forward to putting on an event that will inspire and make Batavia proud.”
What’s needed at the moment? Organizers are seeking about 400 volunteers, Dunbar said.
They include a long list of duties including volunteer management; security management; jet team, performer and display liaisons; marketing, public relations and sponsorship management; hotel, transportation, admissions and concessions management; a field services manager; a special operations manager; and more. Those interested in volunteering are asked to contact Dunbar at [email protected].