By ASHLEY NEWMAN
From the rush expected today of jet fighters moving in perfect synchronization overhead through the fair season and River Rock at the Amp performances, the 2014 summer calendar was to kick off with a bang this weekend in Trumbull County.
The Youngstown Air Reserve Station is expecting a large crowd for today's Thunder Over the Valley air show finale, with opening ceremonies scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m., followed by a flag drop by a parachute team and the National Anthem.
The air show demonstrations, set for noon to 5 p.m., will include Third Strike Wingwalking, Red Star and the Dragon, Quick Silver P-51 Mustang, the Vanguard Squadron, Trojan Horsemen, Dave Folk's F-4U Corsiar - Fighters & Legends, Manfred Radius, Grayout Aerosports - Sibling Rivalry, Yankee Air Museum, Valiant Echoes, Flash Fire Jet Truck and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.
The two primary public parking areas will be located at the Eastwood Mall in Niles and Delphi Packard Electric in Warren. A shuttle service will then be available from the lots to the air base at a charge of $5 per seat.
"During our last air show, Air Force funds covered the cost of busing. In the current fiscal climate, that is not possible," said Col. James Dignan, 910th Airlift Wing commander. "We are pleased our private sector community partners are able to transport our guests to the air show for a nominal, but necessary, fee."
Shuttles will stop transporting guests at 3 p.m.
Stephanie Sferra, director of the TC Tourism Bureau, said Trumbull County will stay busy from now through Labor Day weekend.
''It will be non-stop with events every weekend and almost every day this summer. That's why we have the website www.exploretrumbullcounty.com because people can come here and find something to see or do every day,'' Sferra said.
She said a big attraction will be the return for the fifth year of the Ohio Chautauqua, which always draws big crowds.
Sferra said the air show really helped kick off the attraction and events season.
''We have many people wanting to find something to do and travel this summer after the very rough winter we had,'' she said.
Sferra said the bed tax for visitors to the area is expected to be up this summer.
She said what makes coming to Trumbull County nice for people is there is such a variety from shows at the amphitheater, festivals, park concerts and holiday celebrations.
''There is so much for families to enjoy,'' she said.