Thursday, March 02, 2017

Second Dunkirk-Lake Shore Air Show planned

Dunkirk Festivals and Special Events Coordinator Hector Rosas, right, and Information Technology Specialist Brayden Manzella display this year’s Dunkirk-Lake Shore Air Show poster. The show will be held July 1 and 2 along Dunkirk’s waterfront.

Residents and visitors who were wowed last year by the first air show in 50 years are in for a treat — the city of Dunkirk, along with its partners and sponsors, have announced the second annual Dunkirk-Lake Shore Air Show, planned for July 1 and 2 at 1 p.m. each day.

At a special press conference Wednesday in city hall, Mayor Wilfred Rosas and Dunkirk Festivals and Special Events Coordinator Hector Rosas shared the big news. Not only will a show be planned for this summer, but it will be bigger and better, even, than last year’s show.

“We are enthused and thrilled to be able to present to you (plans for) our second annual Dunkirk-Lake Shore Air Show for 2017,” said Hector Rosas.

“There’s a lot of excitement with reference to our air show that we’re planning again this year,” said the mayor. “This will be our second air show here in 50 years, so we’re very proud to be able to present this.”

Mayor Rosas introduced some of the show’s key partners, including Lake Shore Savings Bank CEO Dan Reininga, the show’s presenting sponsor; Lou Nalbone and Carl Bjurlin of Dunkirk Aviation, who coordinate all the acts and deal with logistics; Randy Woodbury, the city’s engineer; and his development team. He also called out the city’s first responders and the Department of Public Works for their continued support and assistance, saying that it takes these folks and many more working together as a team to pull off an event as big as the air show — and it will be a doozie this year. 

“There’s a lot of excitement here in the city,” the mayor said. “We have different acts, different pilots coming this year.”

Hector Rosas shared that the air show last year brought in “upwards of 30,000 people to Dunkirk over the weekend, and when you include the July 4th celebration, that’s 45,000 people here, which would equal a $3 million economic boon to this area.”

He explained that the city is also working with Chautauqua County, thanking County Executive Vince Horrigan and the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency; the State University of New York at Fredonia, which supplies parking and lodging for the amazing pilots; the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds and its administration, for more off-site parking; and APG Sound, which sets up the speakers for the event and more.

Plus, a new feature will be added this year to make the show more enjoyable for those up close and farther away.

“APG sound will do something completely different (this year) when it comes to the sound technology. … They’ll set up the whole perimeter of the show line and that will be from Main Street on Lakefront Boulevard to Serval Street. That will all be covered with speakers,” Hector Rosas stated. “This will be then tied in to a live feed (remotely) to WDOE and 94.9 FM/1410 AM for any of the boaters (out on Lake Erie) or anyone at home.”

The live radio feed will allow those who sit farther away, or even those at home, to listen to not only the emcees for the event, but to the pilots’ commentary.

The city arranged this due to feedback they received about last year’s show; everyone loved it, but some couldn’t hear the speakers.

“That’s something we’ve added this year that we’re very proud of,” he said.

This year’s show will once again include crowd favorites the Misty Blues, an all-female parachuting team; Gordon Price, a 76-year-old veteran F-104 fighter pilot for the Royal Canadian Air Force and National Aerobatic Champion title holder; Rick Volker, whose flying skills are well known near and far; Scooter Yoak and his “Quick Silver” P-51; Jim Tobul and the “Korean War Hero” F4U-4 Corsair; a wingwalker, and several other acts. There will be a special tribute to the “Class of 1945” that veterans, their loved ones, and those who value their freedom won’t want to miss.

Bjurlin and Nalbone have been working hard to secure other nationally famous acts, too, with Bjurlin traveling from Canada to Las Vegas to meet the stars of aerobatics and talk to them about the show back home. To their surprise, many of them had already heard about Dunkirk’s first-class event, and were eager to sign on. In fact, the show this year will be almost twice as long as last year’s. Get there early for a seat along the new seawall, close to Leming Street, to be in “Show Central!”

There will once again be live music, food trucks, vendors, and much more.

Event sponsors include Chautauqua Opportunities, Shultz Resale Center, Bart’s Cove, Dunkirk Aviation, the Rotary Club, Best Western, Lakeshore Savings Bank, SUNY Fredonia and the city of Dunkirk, without whom the air show — which is free for attendees — wouldn’t be possible.

More acts and sponsors will be announced soon! Those interested in sponsoring may contact Hector Rosas at

For more information, search “Dunkirk-Lake Shore Air Show 2017” on Facebook, and see clips from last year’s show on YouTube — including Gordon Price’s footage, shot from up in the air using a GoPro camera! (Search “Dunkirk NY 2 July 2016.”)

As always, the city will hold a fireworks show on July 4, with festivities and food vendors in Memorial Park. The Rotary Club’s “Fly-in Breakfast” will be held July 9 at the Dunkirk Airport, where visitors can see vintage aircraft on display and enjoy all-you-can-eat pancakes, eggs, sausage, fresh juice and coffee. 


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