Great New England Air and Space show takes off this weekend

The US Air Force Thunderbirds arrived Thursday at Westover.
The US Air Force Thunderbirds arrived Thursday at Westover.US Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. Andrew Biscoe

The 2018 Great New England Air and Space show kicks off its celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Air Force Reserve this weekend in Western Massachusetts with a performance by the famous US Air Force Thunderbirds along with acts by the C-5 Galaxy, C-17 Globemaster III, and the Golden Knights, the event’s website said.

This year’s show — located at the Westover Air Reserve Base — is the first time in 10 years that the Air Force’s official aerial demonstration team has performed at Westover, according to the Galaxy Community Council and Air Show steering committee statement.

The weekend-long event began with a traditional breakfast Friday morning, when 610 people dined with local Air Force and civilian dignitaries, according to a Facebook post from the base.


The name of the event was changed this year to add “Space” in the title, and the committee decided to bring the space element to the event by hosting NASA astronaut and retired US Air Force Colonel Catherine “Cady” Coleman as the breakfast’s guest speaker.

The breakfast also included a space suit for display and a STEM exhibit, the website said.

“I know, it’s not a rocket or space shuttle,” the event’s website said, “but we’re taking baby steps here folks.”

Gates open at 8 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday, static displays open at 9 a.m., and flying will begin at 10 a.m.

The show will also include a “plethora of amazing aircraft” and performances by the KC-135 Stratotanker, Team FastTrax, P-51 Mustang, and the SHOCKWAVE Jet Truck — to name a few from a list on the event’s website.

And of course, the Thunderbirds will close the show.

Admission and parking will be free, and Westover officials recommend bringing earmuffs or earplugs for noisy performances.

Katie Camero can be reached at katie.camero@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @camerokt_.