In the January cold, Barb Haluszka is planning summer heat.
The executive director of the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival said Wednesday several air show acts have been signed and invitations to hot air balloon pilots are about to to be sent. But the organization is awaiting a decision by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels jet team on whether it will fly during the June 29 to July 4 show at W.K. Kellogg Airport.
“We don’t know yet,” Haluszka said Wednesday. “There are a lot of other shows. They hope to have an announcement by February.”
The Blue Angels have open dates on July 1 and 2, between shows at the end of June in Pennsylvania and in Pensacola Beach, Fla. on July 8 and Haluszka said several events are trying to book the Angels.
Haluszka said she talked with the team in December during the annual convention of the International Council of Air Shows in Las Vegas and has contacted it since to insure them “we would be thrilled and honored to host the team” but she won’t know for a few weeks if Battle Creek will be scheduled.
The Angels performed in Battle Creek in 2007 and 2011 and made four passes over W.K. Kellogg Airport in 1998 after a performance by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds as the Navy team was on its way back to its home base after a show in Traverse City.
The Thunderbirds, who have appeared in Battle Creek many times including last summer, have scheduled shows on July 1 and 2 at the Cherry Festival in Traverse City and July 8 and 9 in Gary, Ind.
Haluszka said military aircraft, including either American jet team, attract extra crowds to the event. She said if the Blues do not schedule Battle Creek this summer, other military demonstration teams, perhaps the F-22 or F-35, might schedule appearances during the event.
“We will have military assets but unfortunately we don’t know what,” she said. “We won’t know on the military aircraft until the end of March or early April.”
However, already 11 acts have been signed for the 2017 show, including a first-time appearance by “Tora, Tora, Tora,” eight World War II airplanes that re-enact the attack on Pearl Harbor with an abundance of pyrotechnics.
Others already scheduled for the air shows are Rob Holland in an MXS, Bill Stein flying an Edge 540, Matt Younkin in a Twin Beech 18, Biller Werth in a Pitts aircraft and performing a motorcycle act, Patrick McAlee in a Pitts biplane, Greg Colyer in a T-33 Jet Fighter, Bob Carlton in a Jet-Powered Sailplane, Jack Knuston in an Extra, Kent Pietsch in an Interstate Cadet and Battle Creek’s Tim Brutsche and two others in L-39 jets.
The first air show will be a full practice on Saturday, July 1 and planes will be in the air through Tuesday, July 4, the last day of the event.
Fifty hot air balloon pilots are expected to compete each day beginning on Friday of the event and two balloon glows and two nights of fireworks, including on July 4, are schedule during the event.
A carnival, motorcycle stunt show, and log rolling as well as nightly entertainment are planned.
On Saturday morning the second annual half-marathon and 5 kilometer running race is scheduled at the airport and on surrounding city streets.
For more information see the event’s website at www.bcballoons.com