MUSKEGON, MI – Muskegon Air Fair is gone, but not forgotten.
For 23 years, the air show captivated both visitors and residents in the Muskegon area with high-flying acrobatics and tricks. The show began in 1984 at the Muskegon County Airport as the creation of Terry Grevious, then the airport director.
With the death of one of its founding members last week, MLive Muskegon Chronicle is looking back at the once-popular Air Fair. Ron Gossett, an influential member of Muskegon’s business and entertainment community for most of his life, lost his battle with liver cancer at the age of 82 on Friday, Oct. 9. He served on the Muskegon Air Fair board.
Popular performances included the United States’ oldest flying aerobatic team, the Blue Angels, and the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team.
Historical displays, races between 300-mph, jet-powered trucks and a performance by Sheryl Crow were also among the attractions.
Robosaurus, a giant robot T-Rex, even entertained the fans in 2003.
Also popular was the Friday Night Runway Bash, which featured food, drink and a variety of live entertainment.
The final show was held in 2006 and Air Fair was officially terminated after five straight years of losses in November of 2007.
Prior to that, the Air Fair’s last profitable year was 2001 when a Blue Angels jet-team show generated a record attendance of 121,771.
In the five following years, the event lost a cumulative total of more than $700,000, according to a MLive Muskegon Chronicle article published in September 2007.
Attendance never again neared the 2001 peak, even in years when the Blue Angels performed.
Despite its eventual downfall, the Muskegon Air Fair was once an exciting event that brought many people to the Muskegon area. The memories remain with many in the area and the images live forever in the Muskegon Chronicle archives.
Take a look at some of the moments and memories from 23 years of Muskegon Air Fair.
MLive Muskegon Chronicle Reporter John Hausman contributed to this report.