Weston Air Festival set for take off

PUBLISHED: 07:29 20 June 2015 | UPDATED: 09:05 22 June 2015

The Red Arrows, photographed by Jamie Hunter.

The Red Arrows, photographed by Jamie Hunter.

Archant

A DOUBLE appearance by the Red Arrows and a farewell flight from the mighty Avro Vulcan will feature among the highlights of the Weston Air Festival weekend today and tomorrow (Saturday and Sunday).

Last year, the spectacular event drew an estimated 170,000 people to Weston seafront for an action-packed show rated by many as the town’s ‘best ever weekend’.

This year, organisers hope it will be even better, and have put together two days of thrilling activities and displays – both in the air, and on the ground – to wow the crowds.

The festival, which runs alongside the town’s Armed Forces Day celebrations, will get underway at 11.30am today – 
and with dry weather predicted for the majority of the weekend, another bumper crowd is expected.

Felicity Baker is the executive member for tourism and events at North Somerset Council, whose seafront team has organised the event.

She said: “This year’s Air Festival and Armed Forces event is set to be a truly memorable weekend, featuring some of the best aircraft from around the world and is a spectacle not to be missed.”

For many, the Red Arrows will be the star attraction, and the good news is that this year the RAF team is scheduled to perform on both days of the festival.

They are due to take to the skies at 4.15pm today and 3pm tomorrow.

The mighty Avro Vulcan – famed for its ear-splitting engine noise – will bring down the curtain on the festival at 5.10pm on Sunday.

However, its appearance will be tinged with sadness for aviation enthusiasts who have long enjoyed its regular appearances at Weston air days.

Cllr Baker explained: “This will be the last time this iconic aircraft will be seen in Weston.

“As a fitting and emotional farewell, two Hawker Hunter Classic jet fighters will be flying in formation with the Vulcan.”

The Vulcans were formally retired in 1984, but have remained an air festival staple ever since.

Sadly now though, maintenance and running costs are proving prohibitive for the group which has been running the last airborne Vulcan.

In addition to the full weekend programme of air displays, the festival’s Armed Forces celebrations will offer a range military exhibitions and displays at ground level too.

Following the flag raising ceremony, there will be marching displays, military bands and performances from The Marionettes and the Bristol Military Wives Choir.

There will also be static displays, funfair rides, trade stands and activities like mini-tanks, a climbing wall, a Red Arrows flight simulator, plus giant inflatables for younger members of the audience.

A full weekend schedule is printed in this week’s Mercury, so make sure you grab a copy before heading to the seafront.

And remember, if you’re taking photographs on the day, do share them via weston.iwitness24.co.uk and your pictures could be featured in the Mercury’s coverage of the weekend.

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