The Sertoma Cajun Air Festival concluded today with another stellar performance by the Thunderbirds, the United States Air Force Demonstration Squadron.

I've been watching air shows since I was a child (my dad was in the Air Force, so we saw air shows almost every year while we were growing up), and for me, the sound of a jet screaming across the sky never gets old.

Young and old, aviation enthusiasts from across the South came to Lafayette for the show, enjoying the food, weather, people and hospitality. I met a couple from Florida who came specifically to see the AeroShell Team perform (his father trained in an AT-6 during WWII). A family from Beaumont was in town visiting relatives and decided to come to the show (it was their first, and judging by the size of their eyes when the Thunderbirds came to life, it won't be their last).

Some of the aircraft performing included:  The B-52 Stratofortress -

The A-10 Warthog -

The F/A-18 Hornet -

And of course, the "Main Event":  The Unites States Air Force Thunderbirds -

People who are accustomed to air shows know that, usually, after the "Main Event" performers land, the show is pretty much over, so they head for the exits. For those who did that this weekend, they missed out on two great performances: On Saturday, Jaryd Lane performed a full set from Air Show Central, and on Sunday, the C-17 made a grand exit, and then performed a fly-by!!

Most people who attend the show have no idea what goes on behind the scenes. Being a Sertoma Club member, I attended some of the meetings leading up to the show, and believe me, there is a HUGE behind-the-scenes world of chaos: food, drinks, tents, tables, chairs, vendors, performers, static displays, hotels, vehicles, security, restroom facilities, generators, sound systems, air traffic control, air show traffic control, commercial flights, fuel, parking, ticketing, media appearances, weather concerns, ice, insurance... the list goes on and on.  My duties at the air show were made much easier by my neighbor Paul Huval, he let me borrow his golf cart to zoom around the airfield.

The Air Show Chairman again this year was Ron Chauffe, and for the past few months he has been busier than a three-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Kudos to you, Ron, for another incredible event, and big thanks to Patty and the kids for allowing Acadiana to borrow you for a while so that we can enjoy a great weekend of aerial performances. (Here's Ron's grandson: Future Air Show Chairman?)

For those of you who have signed on to our website for the first time (everyone else is tired of hearing me talk about it, so I am going to target you new people), I had the opportunity to fly with the Thunderbirds in 2008, and I wrote a little story after the flight to try to describe my experience. Tracy Wirtz of KATC TV3 had the same opportunity last week (she has the advantage of video production!! Her story is better.. NO FAIR!).

For those who did buy a ticket for the Sertoma Cajun Air Festival, know that you helped an organization that has been giving back to Acadiana since 1959.

Here is a gallery of more shots from the festival.