Dayton Air Show’s (estimated) attendance could soar to record high

Exact figures expected later this week

While those who produce the CenterPoint Energy Dayton Air Show said they could not provide precise attendance numbers Monday for this past weekend’s two-day show, they expressed confidence that attendance may equal or even exceed last year’s record attendance mark of about 83,000.

They also were pleased with how traffic and parking were handled this year.

The show hopes to have exact attendance numbers later this week, said Kevin Franklin, the show’s executive director and president of Wright Aero Inc.

“We sold tickets all the way up to the day of the show,” Franklin said at a press conference Monday. “We sold tickets on Sunday.”

While those organizing the show know how many tickets were sold on its web site, tickets sold by Kroger are still being counted. One show spokesman said he wouldn’t be surprised if attendance figures for this year’s show hit and surpass 85,000.

“I think we exceeded it,” said Scott Buchanan, chairman of the U.S. Air and Trade Show, referring to last year’s record.

Attendance of about 85,000 “would be a pretty good number, for sure,” Franklin said.

Franklin joined Buchanan in saying parking and traffic presented fewer problems this year than the 2022 show, when Interstate 75 around the Northwoods Boulevard exit became a temporary parking lot.

Two changes may have made the difference there. First, the show required patrons to buy parking vouchers in advance and, second, the show invested “tens of thousands” in a three-lane, half-mile gravel road leading from Northwoods and Engel Road, offering a new entrance to general admission parking for vehicles leaving I-75 at the Northwoods exit.

“We listened,” Franklin said. “We heard what everyone talked about last year.”

Both Franklin and Buchanan said they were looking forward to the 50th Dayton Air Show, scheduled for June 22 and 23, 2024, to be headlined by the Navy’s Blue Angels.

Widely regarded as one of the nation’s best air shows, the Dayton Air Show reliably enjoys either the Air Force Thunderbirds or the Navy Blue Angels every year as headline performers.

Franklin said the goal will be to produce a 50th anniversary show that is “bigger, better and faster.”

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