This weekend, BowmanFest is set for takeoff after a two-year hiatus. The family-friendly festival is celebrating 100+ years of Bowman Field, which is the oldest continually operating commercial airfield in North America.
The two-day fest will take place on Sat., Oct. 1 + Sun., Oct. 2 inside the fences of the historic airfield at 2805 Taylorsville Rd., which covers 426 acres and has two runways.
Cue Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone,” here’s a look at the flight schedule:
- Sign up to race down the runway during the IPA 5K on Saturday — registration is $30 and includes admission to the festival, a t-shirt, medal + an adult bevvy after the race.
- A category three acrobatic air show will take to the skies twice each day with local and regional acts.
- Historic warbirds + airplanes on display
- Once-in-a-lifetime rides on airplanes and helicopters
- A vintage car show with 50+ automobiles, military vehicles, and an encampment display
- Food trucks + a cash bar
- Bounce houses for kids
Admission is $20 per person, $50 for a group of four + free for veterans and first responders.
And before we fully depart, let’s fly through the past 100 years of Bowman Field.
1919 | Bowman Field is established by founder Abram H. Bowman and his business partner Robert Gass when they leased 50 acres of land from the government which had been seized under the Alien Property Act.
1922 | The airfield was used by the Army Air Corps Reserve as a base + depot.
1928 | Airline service began when Continental Airways — later American Airlines — started airmail service between Louisville and Cleveland. Three years later, the carrier began passenger services.
1937 | After the flood of 1937, tons of supplies + medicine were flown into the airport as it remained dry.
1939-1945 | During World War II, Bowman was the busiest airport in the country — thousands of military members underwent combat readiness training + it was home to the Army Air Force School of flight surgeons, nurses, and medical technicians.
1947 | All airline operations moved from Bowman Field to the new commercial airport Standiford Field — today it’s called Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF).
1963 | Parts of the James Bond movie “Goldfinger” were filmed at the airfield.
Present day | Bowman Field serves private and corporate flying needs + acts as a reliever airport for Muhammad Ali International Airport.
Bonus: Can’t make it to BowmanFest? Book a table at Bistro Le Relais located in the historic airport terminal of Bowman Field. It offers a fine dining experience in a 1940s art-deco atmosphere.