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Central Coast AirFest returns to Santa Maria for the first time since 2019

Posted at 3:53 PM, Oct 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-13 01:35:08-04

This weekend, planes ranging from vintage warbirds to Air Force fighter jets will be taking flight at the Santa Maria Airport.

This will be the first time the Central Coast AirFest will fill the sky since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and organizers say they are ecstatic to be coming back.

"The two years off were tough. We had our growing pains this year," admitted air show director Chris Kunkle. "The planning stuff, you start to figure out all the stuff you forgot about. The people already that are showing up to help out the community, everyone is just so pumped about this event.

"I am kind of looking forward to coming out to the show. I have never been before so it is going to be a big deal for my wife and myself," said Orcutt resident Patrick Murphy.

But along with those planes, comes a sharp increase in noise for neighbors living nearby.

"We have lived in the Orcutt area about 40 years," said Jeff Hearn. "We happen to live right in the flight path, so we hear it all the time."

"It is every day. I have heard worse, I would rather they don't go right over our houses," said fellow Orcutt neighbor Barry Sher.

"There is going to be a lot of noise," Kunkle admitted. "That is why we have been on social media making sure everybody knows what is coming. We don’t want to surprise anybody, but that is the nature of the beast."

He adds that along with the air show itself, the event also provides an opportunity for people to support local businesses, as well as witness the spectacle of our military services.

"What it does for the community is way more beneficial than complaining about the noise," Kunkle said.

And while the air show doesn't officially begin until this Saturday, Kunkle warns that neighbors should not be surprised to hear more planes flying near the airport ahead of this weekend's event.

"Friday, we do have a dress rehearsal practice. So you will be hearing and you will be seeing jets and aircrafts flying around on Friday just getting used to the box, getting used to flying around this airport so that they are as safe as can be when it comes to air show day," Kunkle added.

The first flights at the 2022 Central Coast AirFest will be taking off this Saturday, Oct. 15 at 11:30 a.m. A squad of F-35 fighter planes will also be landing at the airport on Thursday. Their demonstrations will take place both Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m.

Pre-sale tickets are still available for purchase. You can find a link for more details by clicking here: