Lincoln, Neb. – The 2023 Guardians of Freedom Airshow officially broke attendance records last weekend as hundreds of thousands of attendees came to Lincoln Airpark for an unforgettable experience, highlighted by performances from the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels.
In total, more than 340,000 people attended the airshow on August 26 and 27, breaking the previous record for the largest attendance at a spectator event in Lincoln’s history. The previous record was set 12 years ago when over 250,000 people attended the Guardians of Freedom Airshow September 10 and 11, 2011.
“We’re thrilled about how the event came together and with the support we received from our event partners, making it the biggest show we’ve ever put on,” says Col. John Williams, Commander of the 155th Air Refueling Wing.
This year’s Guardians of Freedom Airshow featured joint efforts of collaboration between the 155th Air Refueling Wing of the Nebraska National Guard and 55th Wing Offutt Air Force Base, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, Lincoln Airport Authority and City of Lincoln, highlighting Lincoln’s commitment to the event and celebration of our flying forces.
The weekend saw each day’s festivities begin with an opening ceremony honoring the 30-year partnership between the Czech Republic’s military and the Nebraska National Guard.
“We are incredibly fortunate to partner with the Czech Armed Forces. I’m thankful for the large role they played in the airshow, and that we were able to showcase our relationship to the citizens of Nebraska,” adds Col. Williams.
Other logistical and critical event coordination and execution were provided by Lincoln Fire and Rescue, Lincoln Police Department, Nebraska State Patrol and other organizations, which ensured this year’s event ran smoothly throughout the weekend.
“What an amazing week of new records for Lincoln! We are a city that understands our greatest successes come from partnerships and the Chamber was honored to be an organizer for this event with our partners at the Nebraska Air and Army National Guard, 55th Wing at Offutt, Lincoln.
Airport Authority and City of Lincoln,” says Jason Ball, President and CEO of the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce.
“We are proud to have played host to the Blue Angels and 340,000 guests and friends for an unforgettable event, which had a significant economic benefit for all of Lincoln,” adds Ball.
The two-day family-friendly community event offered new and unique performers, stunts, exhibits and displays as one of the most anticipated events of the year, with the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels headlining this year’s show, in addition to the U.S. Air Force F-16C Viper Demo team, U.S. Marine Corps C-130J Super Hercules – Fat Albert, U.S. Navy F-35C Lighting II Demo Team and many others.
“This is my eighth airshow, and I can tell you it didn’t disappoint. The Lincoln Airport and our community partners have spent well over a year planning for the Guardians of Freedom Airshow. This past weekend showcases the incredible enthusiasm and support our community has for aviation,” says Bob McNally, Director of Operations at Lincoln Airport.
“Many of our partners compared the airshow to a Husker home football game day, and this was the ultimate game day for us and every partner that assisted with the airshow came together for a big win for Lincoln,” McNally concludes.
For additional details, contact the 155th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs Superintendent, Shannon Nielsen, SMSgt., at (402) 309-1042 or the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce’s Communications Coordinator, Chris Whitney, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (402) 436-2376.