First Air Show in 20 Years Coming to Somerset

Scheduled on Somernites Cruise Ford Mustang weekend, event will feature music, food and aerial entertainment

On the same weekend that Somerset-Pulaski County’s streets are filled with Mustangs for Somernites Cruise, the Lake Cumberland Regional Airport tarmac will be filled with them too — as four local organizations come together to bring the community its first air show in nearly two decades.

The Lake Cumberland Air Show — a partnership between the airport, the Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority (SPEDA), the Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce and Somernites Cruise — will light up the skies Sunday, Aug. 29.

The idea was born from the desire to give the community another event to attract visitors while highlighting the importance of aviation and the airport. 

“Aviation and aerospace are Kentucky’s number one industry. We want to establish our community as a hub for it and demonstrate the ways in which we are becoming a regional leader in this regard,” SPEDA President and CEO Chris Girdler said. “We have a beautiful airport in Somerset-Pulaski County and having this type of event is perfect for showcasing it.”

Another important industry in Kentucky — and especially Somerset-Pulaski County — is tourism, Girdler said, and an organization that plays a significant role in attracting visitors is Somernites Cruise. Now in its 21st year, Somernites Cruise draws more than 1,000 classic cars from enthusiasts across the world to downtown Somerset on the fourth Saturday of the month April through October.

Having an airshow that features World War II fighter planes, like the North American P-51 Mustang for example, is the perfect complement to August’s Somernites Cruise event, Girdler said, as August is Ford Mustang month. And it gives those coming to town to participate or attend Somernites Cruise another reason to add one more night to their stay in Somerset-Pulaski County, in addition to attracting new visitors who are aviation enthusiasts.

“We are super excited to be a partner in this event,” said Keith Floyd, Somernites Cruise executive director. “It’s a perfect addition to the Somernites Cruise weekend.”

The air show, scheduled for 1 p.m. Aug. 29 at the Lake Cumberland Regional Airport, is a free, family-friendly event that will feature music, food, and a sky full of dancing planes. The team organizing the event has partnered with Luke Carrico, an air show announcer who has announced for nearly 50 aerial events across the world, including military and civilian air shows. Carrico has worked with all of the major North American military jet teams, single-ship demonstration units, MAJCOMs, and a number of civilian performers and aerobatic teams.

Attendees will be able to take photos with a P-51 Mustang on-site — and Ford Mustang enthusiasts will even be able to drive their classic cars on the tarmac to take pictures of the two together, Girdler said.

Lake Cumberland Regional Airport board member David Morris, a local aviation enthusiast, is part of the planning committee and eager to bring an event to the community that showcases the airport and the updates that have been made to its terminal in the last year. SPEDA recently partnered with local company Team Modern and Modern Signs & Graphics to add new signage and graphics to the airport’s terminal, and the family of late local businessman and aviation enthusiast W.O. Bill Newell has donated personal items from his services as a WWII fighter pilot. 

“I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of bringing the first air show to Somerset in 18 years,” Morris said. “Community leaders are working hard to make the Lake Cumberland Air Show a special event for the entire region.”

Bobby Clue, executive director of the Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce, said the planning team is confident the air show will be a success for the entire community.

“The Chamber is honored to be a partner in creating this event for the community, which will bring an incredible added benefit to our local businesses by offering visitors to Somernites Cruise an additional reason to stay in our community the last weekend in August,” Clue said. “This is a testament to the spirit of collaboration in Somerset and Pulaski County that is producing so many wonderful things for residents and visitors.”

For full details about the air show, including performances and an event schedule, visit lakecumberlandairshow.com.