2014 Airshow of the Cascades setting up as year of milestones

It's impossible to speculate what memories await at the 2014 Airshow of the Cascades. But certainly the 2014 show will be remembered for two milestone side events — the opening of the Erickson's Aircraft Collection museum and the dedication of the Veterans War Memorial Plaza.

Most good things that happen to the Madras area occur because local people make it happen, through local people investing or local voters approving levies. The air show itself was built by local enthusiasts who thought the Madras airport could host a good show, and through their commitment and dedication, they proved themselves absolutely right.

The roots of the air show go back more than 30 years, when Willowdale pilot Ron Ochs held the initial "fly-ins" at his ranch. Small-craft pilots would land at his strip and a party would ensue. From that seed grew the Airshow of the Cascades, which now draws upwards of 10,000 spectactors. (Do yourself a favor and read Susan Matheny's story on Ochs on page 1B.)

While most of the best about Madras is due to homegrown initiative or investment, the arrival of the museum — Jack Erickson's choosing Madras to showcase his vast collection of historic airplanes — may be the best thing to happen to our area, from the outside in, in quite some time.

Until just a few weeks back, it wasn't expected that the museum would be open in time for the air show. While the relatively late "yes we are" may make for some logistical issues for the show's organizers, the museum and the air show will be mutually beneficial. It would have been too bad to have to wait a full year before taking the first joint step.

Another highlight of this year's air show weekend is the dedication of the War Memorial Plaza at the airport, a perfect place for the community's memorial as the airport was essentially born as a World War II flight training base. That dedication is Saturday at 10 a.m.

The historic hangars — which thankfully still adorn the airport — were built when the site was a World War II training facility, and the base reinvigorated Madras after the Depression had nearly decimated it. After the war, irrigation arrived, and fits of rapid or steady growth have essentially continued to this day.

But aside from enduring history nerds like myself, what the air show is primarily about is fun and aerial entertainment. Kids seem to love it, adults love it, and the event draws people from throughout the region, and further, to Madras. Many of the assorted vendors are local nonprofits, so the show helps their coffers as well. In total, it's a wonderful signature event for the community.

Take it all in: the history, the exciting aerobatics, the fabulous panoramic views of the Cascades ... the Airshow of the Cascades is Madras at its showcase best.




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  • 24 Dec 2014

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