The festival’s success was profound and immediate. And with the support of the Chamber of Commerce board and the entire local community the following year’s festival, although hindered by bad weather, registered attendance of over 25,000; an impressive number even by today’s airshow standards!
Over the next 11 years the festival and show enjoyed immense success and grew to be recognized as one of the South’s premier airshows. Over the course of its 14 year run it showcased the latest military aircraft, including the F-4 Phantoms and F-15 Eagles of the Louisiana Air National Guard’s 159th Tactical Fighter Squadron and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. It featured performances from the world’s premier airshow performers; including Bob Blankenship, Ruthie Osbourne, ZAR, Bob Hoover, Frank Ryder III, Kenny Blalock, Joe Foretich, Steve Powell, Bob Bishop, Terry Doehling, Ben Cunningham, Ernie Argence, the Holiday Inn Aerobatic Team, Pitts Special Acts, a Bucker Jungmeister Solo Act, Stearman Bi-Planes, Joe Edwards, Elliot Cross, Joe Molinary, Ace’s Airdevils, “Corkey” Fornoff,, Johnny Kasian, Jim Franklin, Ed Johnson, Manfred Radius in his Aerobatic Sail Plane, Joanne Osterud, Merle Gustafason, Marion Cole, the Swift Acrobatic Team and Joe Foretich. And over the years we were wowed by professional parachute teams like the U.S. Army’s Golden Knights and the all-female Misty Blues.
Pivotal to the Airshow’s success were the efforts of hundreds of local volunteers whose labors were organized and managed by notable Hammond civic and business leaders like Frank Van Mullem, Andrew Gasaway, Catherine Shafer, William Wainwright, Noel Poirier, R. Duane Shafer, Paula Hill, Kathy Pittman, Don Grimes, Mike Dubois, Kim Biggs and Christina Buehler, among many, many more.