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Great Bend Airfest set for Sept. 17-19
The World War II P-51 Mustang “Gunfighter” takes off for an aerial demonstration at the 2018 Great Bend Airfest. - photo by BY DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

The triennial Great Bend Airfest is scheduled for Sept. 17-19 at the Great Bend Municipal Airport. Four air shows are slated for this year’s event.

Friday, Sept. 17, opening day activities begin at 10 a.m. and include educational tours, warbird and Helicopter rides, historical displays and the first day’s airs how at 5 p.m. 

Activities continue on Saturday, Sept. 18, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. In addition to tours and rides, three air shows are also scheduled for that day including a Veterans Recognition Ceremony and night air show. 

Historical displays, rides and a late morning air show will wrap up the three-day Airfest on Sunday, Sept. 19, and will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“This event is always fun to put on every three years and were really excited about this year’s Airfest,” said event organizer and airport Manager Martin Miller. “Aviation is such a big part of Great Bend’s history and to be able to host this event at the former Air Force Base makes this such a meaningful occasion.”
Great Bend Army Air Field was closed as an air base in 1946. Located 5.6 miles west-southwest of Great Bend, it is used today as Great Bend Municipal Airport.

The air field is significantly historic as it was in the first group of United States Army Air Forces B-29 Superfortress bases for initial training on the aircraft in the summer of 1943. Along with Walker Army Air Field near Victoria, Pratt Army Air Field near Pratt and Smoky Hill Army Air Field near Salina the initial cadre of the 58th Bombardment Wing was formed. 

The 58th Bomb Wing was the first B-29 combat wing of World War II and engaged in the first long-range strategic bombardment of the Japanese Home Islands beginning in March 1944 from bases in India.

For more information on the 2021 Great Bend Airfest, visit the Airfest website at