As the USAF Thunderbirds roared in formation over the Sioux Falls skyline Saturday and tens of thousands of people stared upward in awe, I couldn't help but think that this doesn't happen enough.
The Sioux Falls Airshow last took off in 2019 and previously in 2016. My memories of all the shows dating back to the late 2000s are all framed by my two oldest children — my twin boys were just a couple years old at the time we went to our first event. Since then, we've been to all the shows in Sioux Falls and traveled to other events in Fargo and Ellsworth.
So of course I was there Saturday with my entire family, including Ian and Hayden who are now entering their junior year in high school and want to be pilots. We had front-row seats thanks to SDN Communications, a premier business internet provider that is a proud longtime sponsor of the event, and we were joined by dozens of other SDN employees and their families.
The Thunderbirds were the main attraction in the air, but on the ground there were airplanes and helicopters on display for photo opportunities. The F-15, the V-22 Osprey South Dakota Air National Guard F-16 were my kids' favorites.
At 11 a.m., the show got underway with paratroopers that had onlookers squinting at the sky. Acrobatic air performers followed before the World War II-era C-47 flew overhead (a show highlight). Then it was time for the ear protection, as the South Dakota Air National Guard F-16s took off. That got everyone ready for the Thunderbirds who performed for more than an hour and kept attendees on their feet with their every maneuver.
Ian and Hayden and hundreds of other kids left with tons of pictures and mementos from their seventh air show and further dreams of being pilots. I couldn't help but think how fortunate I was to take my family to the performance and sit with my SDN colleagues just three months after starting as the digital marketing specialist.
SDN Communications has provided me with the opportunity to share my media skills in a different way than I ever thought possible. And I'm proud to work for a company that gives back to the community and treats its employees right. Thanks to SDN and many other corporate sponsors, the airshow is free to attend.
"The Sioux Falls Air Show has become an iconic event in the state," SDN Communications Vice President of Sales & Marketing Ryan Dutton said. "It’s important to everyone at SDN that we are good corporate citizens, and part of that responsibility is supporting events that bring joy to so many people throughout Sioux Falls and the greater Sioux Falls area."
Three years is a long time to wait for the next air show, but we'll be back, and I'm sure SDN will be, too.