BARKSDALE AFB, La. (KSLA) - Earlier this month, Barksdale Air Force Base announced plans for the 2021 Defenders of Liberty Air Show — but things will look a little different from years past due to COVID-19.
“We still want to work with the local community and show the things we do, as well as provide support since the community shows so much support to us,” Major Daniel Dreier, the Director for the 2021 Defenders of Liberty Air Show said. “So we wanted to move forward with a safe show for the community and for the base that helps show support for each other in these trying times for everyone.”
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will be headlining the event.
The air show is set for May 8 and 9. A variety of displays will be on the ground for guests to learn about inside and out. Crew members will be available to help educate guests on the aircraft displays.
The public is being asked to “defend the defenders” by following COVID guidelines while in attendance. Face masks will be required and must cover the nose and mouth of guests. Social distancing protocols have not yet been established and will be released at a later date.
“We are currently examining different formats for the show,” Dreier said. “Last year a lot of the shows they executed did a tailgate, drive-in format so we are exploring those options. But if we are doing an in-person show, it’s going to involve mask-wearing, social distancing, spacing and we will have to limit the amount of attendance as necessary to allow enough space. We are getting more specifics guidelines as we get closer, which will put on our website, so people can review that before they get here.”
The air show is a popular event for Shreveport-Bossier. Dreier says the show in 2017 saw 150,000 attendees. The show in 2019 saw around 120,000.
“We will also have the F-22 Raptor Demo Team,” Dreier said. “We are working to procure a lot of different acts. With us being the B-52 base, we will have some B-52′s flying as well. We are also working with Air Force Global Strike Command to get a lot of the different bombers for flyovers as well.”
More information on other flying acts will be released in the coming months.
“Our theme this year will be ‘100 years on target’ because it is the 100 year anniversary of General Mitchell’s bombing tests to show the ability of air crafts to fight against the Navy,” Dreier said. “Those bombers have now been utilized in the United States military for one hundred years. It’s also been about one hundred years since Barksdale has been with the local community, so it also signifies the support between the base and the community.”