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CLEVELAND (WJW) — One year after being silenced by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Cleveland National Air Show returned to Burke Lakefront Airport on Saturday with a roar.

After being cooped up for long periods of time, many Northeast Ohio families view the air show as a breath of fresh air.

As his son watched the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team from on top of his shoulders, Goran Borojevic of North Royalton told FOX 8, “We’re just excited to be able to go outside again and we missed the air show last year, and this feels a lot more normal, good to see so many people out, just awesome to have him be a part of it.”

As her 6-year-old son chewed on a shaved ice cone, Colleen Barton of Ravenna, told us “it’s great, we came the year before COVID, and we were really looking forward to it in 2020 and then obviously we couldn’t do it, it was really disappointing. So the fact that we got to come back this year, I was super excited for it.”

For Keith and Victoria Olson and their three young daughters, the air show is a cure for the COVID-19 blues.

“Boring, very, very boring, very long, very long days, trying to keep them occupied. It is amazing to be able to get out here, experience everything and see people and have fun,” said Keith Olson.

WJW photo

The sights and sounds of the show was also a chance for retired U.S. Marine Eugene Coles to share his love of aviation with his 11-year-old daughter Alyssa.

“It’s the thrill, the exhilaration of flight. I mean, who doesn’t want to fly as a kid, right? So to get out here and see the planes actually do it is pretty exciting,” Coles said.

The return of the air show is also a thrill for the performers and members of the U.S. Military, who use the platform to promote service to the country and to recruit new members. The pilots who fly the T-6 Texan, an Air Force training aircraft, say the fascination with flight is one of their most effective recruiting tools, and it was an opportunity they missed in 2020.

“I mean, everybody that is in aviation or likes to watch aviation, this is such a treat to come out here again and share the love of aviation with everybody here,” said Lt. Reed Glosser, an Air Force instructor pilot.  

The highlight of every Cleveland National Air Show is the high altitude precision of the Thunderbirds of the United States Air Force, and the Thunderbirds never disappoint, providing plenty of “oohs and ahhs” from  the audience at Burke, and those who lined the Shoreway.

After the one-year hiatus, Northeast Ohioans were in awe of all of the power they witnessed on the Lakefront Saturday.

“It makes my heart happy, so I’m glad to be able to be here and be a part of it,” said former Army National Guard member Darcie O’Shea.

The Cleveland National Air Show continues Sunday and on Labor Day. Find out more right here.