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16,000 watch Blue Angels at La Crosse’s Airfest, next show could happen in 2026



ONe of the Blue Angels flies over the La Crosse terrain during the Deke Slayton Airfest on June 15, 2024 (PHOTO: Rick Solem)

Around 16,000 spectators showed up for the Deke Slayton Airfest in La Crosse last weekend.

A majority of those, 10,000, were there Saturday for the airshow, featuring the Blue Angels and the F-22 Raptor.

Another 250 volunteers made it all happen.

The Air Force F-22 Raptor takes off from the La Crosse Regional Airport during the Deke Slayton Airfest on June 15, 2024 (PHOTO: Rick Solem)

The only snags for the show were long lines for food trucks and leaving the parking lot after Saturday’s show — some trying to leave for well over an hour.

Airfest communications director Dave Larsen said all seven food trucks had long lines and they made every effort heading into the show to get as many vendors as possible, but “several food trucks turned us down.”

One of the Blue Angels goes inverted next to another during the Deke Slayton Airfest on June 15, 2024 (PHOTO: Rick Solem)

It’s still unknown when the next Airfest will happen.

The show only takes off when a military flying team is available — typically the Blue Angels or the Thunderbirds.

Larsen said an application for 2026 are in and they’ll find out in December if either of those teams will put La Crosse on their schedule.

The last Airfest in La Crosse was in 2021. Before that, 2016. The gap in years there was because of construction on both Interstate 90 and on French Island that would have made traffic even more hectic.

Host of WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate | Hometown: Greenville, Wis | Avid noonball basketball player and sand volleyballer in La Crosse

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  1. nick

    June 18, 2024 at 6:39 am

    So much for global warming. Waste of taxpayers money.

    • dude

      June 18, 2024 at 4:34 pm

      true we should end / ban all fun and events in general, especially if those that burn fuel or utilize tax dollars

  2. Susan RUGG

    June 18, 2024 at 12:06 pm

    Please have a shuttle!! For those
    Who can’t walk and carry a chair, possible

  3. David Dockham

    June 19, 2024 at 11:55 pm

    Get volunteer’s from clubs trying to make some money. I was there Saturday and yes they’re were not enough vendors,but it still was a blast.

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