WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Nearly a quarter million people came to the Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield Air Base in 2010 for the air show.
The Barnes Air Show “Open House” tradition began in 1954, the first of more than 30 air shows there. The Westfield Athenaeum has city records showing that the Barnes runway was first home to an air show back in 1928, setting the stage for the air shows that came later.
Kate Deviny, the archivist at the Westfield Athenaeum, told 22News, “Early in the 1920s, we had one in 1928; it was a show of mechanic ability when the United States was growing and becoming more and more industrialized. So It showed possibilities the ability to fly was an amazing adventure that people hadn’t had before.”
Westfield Mayor Dan Knapik told 22News, he’s been attending Barnes Air Shows since he was ten years old. “One of the greatest memories was the year we had the Blue Angels in town. They brought with them their C-130 Transports, and to see them take off from the runway was something else.”
Now that the air force has lifted budget restrictions imposed in 2011, plans are underway for the next Air Show at Barnes for August of 2016.
Base spokesman Major Matthew Mutti told 22News, because of the intricate planning required, Barnes will begin working on the specifics this winter.