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CenterPoint Energy Dayton Air Show returns to Miami Valley skies

The U.S. Navy Blue. Angels. CenterPoint Energy Dayton Air Show
CenterPoint Energy Dayton Air Show
The U.S. Navy Blue. Angels

The CenterPoint Energy Dayton Air Show takes place this weekend. The air show, which began in 1975, features world-class aerial demonstrations and plenty of ground-level activities for families and aviation enthusiasts. Ken Kreitzer is one of the thousands of volunteers working on the event. In this conversation with WYSO’s Jerry Kenney, he offers some of the highlights of this year's program.

We're so excited to welcome everybody back to the CenterPoint Energy Dayton Air Show. It's going to be an amazing weekend. The weather looks beautiful and we're excited to welcome all of our friends back. We've got plenty of acts, crazy high-flying acts, some low show and then just an incredible display of aircraft on the ground that folks can walk right up to. They can meet the crews of the planes, lots of great food and beverage on site, and it's going to be a beautiful weekend. We just encourage everybody to come out and join us.

I think you've got some great new entries into the show.

We do. We have a couple of performers that will be here for the very first time in Dayton. We have Kent Pietsch, he's got a comedy act in the air. That's going to be incredible. We have vampire air shows, that's going to be one of the first jets, the Vampire will be flying for the first time. And of course, you know the Blue Angels, that that's our headline act. It'll be an amazing, amazing show. But I think it's the air show we've all come to know and love. It's back full scale this year with even more aircraft on the ground. The ground will be full of aircraft. There's so much to see from an A-10 Warthog to the big transport, military transport jets that you can, you know, walk right inside and talk with the crew. That's probably one of my favorite parts of the show is just watching, you know, families interact with the air crews and walk around the planes and be able to kick the tires on it.

You've got some large helicopters that are going to be doing some flybys. That sounds pretty exciting.

Yeah, we'll have AH 64 and Apache AH1 Cobra that'll be doing a flyby. We have the military history folks who will be out here that are offering helicopter rides, so you can check that out. If you want to get up in a helicopter, we have that opportunity. It's just so much to do. There literally is something for everyone. You know, if you have some young folks here and they need a break, you can head over to the kids tent and there's lots of things to do, face painting and a sandbox and coloring and activities for the kids there. It's a nice place to take a break and let recharge.

Tell me a little bit about your background and how you became involved with the air show.

Well, I'm one of the volunteers for the air show. There's about 2000 volunteers that help bring the air show to the Dayton area each year. Everywhere from our board of trustees are all volunteers down to the folks that are helping in the parking and concessions. I tell people it's like a huge family reunion where an air show breaks out and our volunteers come from all over the United States to be part of the Dayton Air Show. It's like a big reunion. We have such a great time with the folks, you know, I see my friends, my air show friends about one week a year, and we just have a great time and everybody's energized to get those gates open and see the folks come in.

And as I said, I think the highlight for everybody is watching the kids interact with the planes and the performers and just the excitement you see when you see a mom and a dad with a young person watching the show or talking to a pilot that makes all the work worth it. And, you know, every year I meet another pilot who says 'I was one of those kids and being on the other side of the fence and I thought, if they can do it, so can I.' And, you know, that is a focus of our show. We want to encourage young people to explore careers in aviation and that's something this show is known for.

I understand there's kind of a new parking arrangement that people should be aware of this year.

Yes, we really looked at parking this year. I encourage everyone to check out the parking information at www.daytonairshow.com. You can purchase parking in advance so that you can just have it on your phone ready to go. It'll move you through the gates quicker. We have where last year we've doubled the amount of busses that are traveling back and forth to the lot. We've worked with Vandalia, the city of Vandalia and the Dayton Airport folks. We're going to make pedestrian traffic much easier from the parking lots into the air show. So, we encourage everybody go to Dayton Air Show dot com for all the ticket information but parking information. We have family four pack discounts available. There are discounted tickets at Kroger. We just want everyone to come out and have a great, great weekend with us.

Ken Kreitzer, a volunteer with the CenterPoint Energy Dayton Air Show, thanks so much for the information today and good luck this weekend.

Great. We'll see you there.

Jerry began volunteering at WYSO in 1991 and hosting Sunday night's Alpha Rhythms in 1992. He joined the YSO staff in 2007 as Morning Edition Host, then All Things Considered. He's hosted Sunday morning's WYSO Weekend since 2008 and produced several radio dramas and specials . In 2009 Jerry received the Best Feature award from Public Radio News Directors Inc., and was named the 2023 winner of the Ohio Associated Press Media Editors Best Anchor/News Host award. His current, heart-felt projects include the occasional series Bulletin Board Diaries, which focuses on local, old-school advertisers and small business owners. He has also returned as the co-host Alpha Rhythms.