Aviation and Military Heritage Festival

Presented by Humana Military, this one-of-a-kind experience at Bowman Field is happening on October 14 and 15. To learn more about this collaboration, we spoke with Dell Courtney of the festival committee and planning team.

What is the Aviation and Military Heritage Festival?

The Bowman Field Aviation and Military Heritage Festival is a collaborative event that commemorates the U.S. role in all conflicts from WWI to Afghanistan. It also salutes the heritage and role of Bowman Field in Louisville’s military and civilian air history and explores the role of Louisville’s and Southern Indiana’s industries in the war efforts over the decades. It combines the best of the 2016 Bowman Field Aviation Festival and the 2015 and 2016 “Spirit of ‘45” events that commemorated the end of WWII, both of which took place at Bowman Field.

What can guests expect from this exciting event?

This will be an opportunity to see vintage and modern aircraft and military equipment and to visit with their owners, including: a B-25 Mitchell bomber, Flagship Detroit DC 3, Avenger fighter plane (the same kind that former President George H.W. Bush flew in WWII), WWII L-4 reconnaissance planes, Steerman (double wing) planes, vintage Warbirds and other planes of varying types and ages.

Guests will have a chance to purchase an exciting ride in the Flagship Detroit, DC3 and see historical exhibits ranging from WWI to the present and the early days of Bowman Field. There will also be special exhibits on “Women in War” and “Women in Aviation” and modern equipment from all branches of the U.S. Armed Services. A few other exhibits will explore the history of Louisville area companies’ roles in supplying and supporting the military in WWII (Ford Motor Company, American Commercial Lines [Jeff Boat], Hillerich & Bradsby and many others).

Those who attend can aexplore the “Hall of Memories,” where individuals will display military memorabilia from their families. Entertainment will be provided by “The Ladies for Liberty,” a USO-type dance party with the Don Krekel Orchestra on Saturday and “The Dandies” on Sunday. There will be children’s activities as well and opportunities to meet and thank veterans from WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the present day.

Net proceeds from the Festival will benefit Honor Flight Bluegrass and Bowman Field Friends.

The community itself will benefit from the opportunity to visit and learn about the history and heritage of Louisville’s original airport, the role it played in helping win WWII and its place in modern day Louisville. The festival is an educational experience and, as one visitor said, “a world class, one-day museum on one site.”

Which sponsors do we need to thank for helping put this festival on?

Our presenting sponsor is Humana Military. Other sponsors include Kentucky Veterans Trust Fund, Beyond Band of Brothers Tours, Four Roses Bourbon, Independent Pilots Association, Jean Frazier, Dick and Ardi Wilson and Mary Romelfanger. In addition to the corporate and personal sponsors, there are many organizations and individuals who serve as volunteers and in-kind sponsors. For additional information and detailed schedules/lists of aircraft and exhibits, please visit: bowmanaviationfest.com.