F-16 Flyover and Beach City Baby Highlight The Aviation Museum’s 27th Annual AirFest

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Get ready for an exhilarating celebration of aviation and history as Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum’s (NASW) popular event AirFest 2023 returns from September 1st to September 4th. The museum, which is located inside a 92,000-square-foot WWII-era wooden hangar, is thrilled to invite families, aviation enthusiasts, and history buffs to a four-day extravaganza filled with captivating displays, historical aircraft, exciting flyovers and fly-ins, live performances, and much more.

Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat Bu.66237 on an outdoor foray at NAS Wildwood Aviation Museum. This ultra-rare, early variant of the Hellcat arrived on loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida during April, 2019. Originally assigned to VF-20 at NAS San Diego, it was lost off the Pacific coast on a training sortie in January 1944. VF-20 went on to serve with distinction in the Pacific Theatre aboard the carrier USS Enterprise. Thought lost forever, a U.S. Navy submersible recovered the almost completely intact fighter from its watery grave, 3,400′ down in the Pacific Ocean, during a training exercise in October, 1970. After many years of neglect in outdoor storage, she finally received a restoration to pristine condition during the early 1990s. She is presented here in the markings of the ace, Lt.JG Arthur Ray Hawkins, who served with VF-31 aboard USS Cabot. (image via NASWAM)

AirFest 2023 promises a thrilling lineup of aircraft and events that will engage and entertain visitors of all ages. Attendees will have the opportunity to witness iconic aircraft up close, including the P-40 Warhawk American Dream, F4F Wildcat, TBM Avenger, SNJ, DC-3, and a C53 Skytrooper “Beach City Baby”. These legendary planes will take center stage, offering a glimpse into the rich history of aviation.

One of the highlights of the event is the engaging and educational theatrical performances by the American Historical Theatre. Taking place each day of the event at 11 am, these performances will bring historical figures to life. Audiences can look forward to encountering the likeness of Amelia Earhart, Bessie Coleman, a Harvey Girl, and Rosie the Riveter.

As part of the festivities, there will be a spectacular flyover by the 177th Fighter Wing on September 1st, as well as a thrilling fly-in of historic aircraft by the Aero Club of PA on September 2nd. Meet Dr. Eugene Richardson, a Tuskegee Airmen on September 3rd. Attendees will also have the opportunity to witness helicopters and meet pilots and crew from esteemed organizations such as the New Jersey State Police, AtlantiCare MedEvac, Cape May County Mosquito Commission, and the United States Coast Guard.

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Hunter Hires)

Visitors will enjoy live music, free face painting and caricatures, an array of food trucks, and a relaxing beer and wine garden. The event will also feature a diverse range of vendors and exhibitors such as the 621st Contingency Response Wing of the Air Force. AirFest ensures there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Admission to AirFest 2023 is $18 for adults and $14 for children aged 3-12. Members, children aged 3 and under, as well as active-duty military personnel, can enjoy free admission. For those seeking further details and updates, visit the official event website at https://usnasw.org/airfest-2023/.

Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum is located inside historic Hangar #1 at the Cape May Airport. The site was formerly Naval Air Station Wildwood, which served as a World War II dive-bomber training center. The museum is dedicated to the 42 aviators who perished while training at Naval Air Station Wildwood between 1943 and 1945. Current museum hours are 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. daily. For more information, visit www.usnasw.org




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