Angels in the Valley

Today was our day at the St. Louis County Fair and Air Show. Alas, as we learned today, this will be the last one. The land around the airport has grown in value, and has been sold, so there’s no room for all the parking needed for event in the future. Bummer.

Beck and I went down to the fair around 11 or so, marveled at the lack of traffic, and parked Smokey. We were directed to busses to get us to the event, as we were over a mile away. That wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but that seemed like a good idea, so we lugged cameras, bag chairs and a sack of bottled water into the event. After a short ride, and a pass through security, we were on the grounds, and started looking about.

As we had hours until the air show, we wandered around the static displays. There were all kinds of aircraft there, including a Nazi aircraft of some kind. I thought it was a mock up, but right there on the end of the wing was what appeared to be a vintage manufacturers plate, complete with serial number. Weird bird, that one was!

After a hour or so, and realizing that there was little shade in sight, we decided that frying in our own fat probably wasn’t terribly good for us, so we departed and headed to Red Robin for some equally — but differently! — bad-for-us food. Hamburgers and malts later, we were in the parking lot at the Commons. We talked with another air show fan for an hour or so, and finally saw the Blue Angels doing their thing.

We watched them go to and fro, and while I’m sure the crowd at the airstrip were getting a great show, I was more than pleased with the treat I was getting from the parking lot in the valley. I was firing shot after shot, and every once in a while, I’d take my eye away from the camera to marvel at what these guys were doing. It was during one of these lulls that I almost dropped $4k of camera gear onto the parking surface.

I was watching a group of four of the Blue Angels, when quietly, from behind, one seemingly came out of nowhere, buzzing the parking lot. To say it startled me is putting it mildly! I was shaking for a full minute after he went by, and once he was gone, you could hear the sound of dozens of car alarms he’d set off with the vibration from his pass. That was exhilarating!

So, it was a great shoot, and a shame that we won’t have the Blue Angels in the valley again. I think that leaves the nearest air show at Scott AFB, which is easily 60 miles from here. I’m sure it’ll be good, but there’s nothing like having America’s military might turning, edge on, right over your house!