History of the Hammond Airshow

Learn more about the Hammond Northshore Regional Airshow 2018

Back, & Better than Ever

Bringing back one of Hammond's largest and most memorable experiences finally came to fruition in 2018.

Like most things, the airshow had humble beginnings. Early in 1979, the President of the Hammond Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Mayson Foster, met with his Tourism Committee Chairman, Mr. Mike Dubois, to discuss the possibility of a new festival in Hammond, Louisiana.

This discussion tied in with conversations Mike was having at the familiar Hammond downtown gathering spot, The Crescent Bar, with longtime local resident Andrew Gasaway and Don Grimes, newly transplanted from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

One thing led to another and later that year the First Hammond Balloon Festival was held at the airport. It featured 15 balloons and a Lake Pontchartrain crossing.
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.
In 1992 the Balloon and Airshow Festival took what was expected to be a short hiatus.  Little did we know it would last 26 years.

In late 2014, even before he took office, newly-elected Mayor Pete Panepinto heard the opinions and desires of many Hammond residents and began planning to bring the airshow back.  A short time later Mayor Panepinto, a pilot and aviation enthusiast himself, tasked his Airport Director with serious planning to bring back the show.

The process wasn't easy.  But we assembled a fantastic group of passionate community volunteers who put together a phenomenal show.  Ask anyone who was there when the airshow returned in 2018. The show truly took your breath away and paved the way for a permanent return of our beloved Hammond Airshow. Our 2021 show brought record crowds and top-rated international talent. Just wait to see what we have planned next for 2023!

Look up to the sky, Hammond, and prepare to be inspired!

view past posters


Salute To Service


Looking Up to the Sky Again!


Freedom Then & Now

get your piece of hammond history!
2023 Airshow Posters are Now available!

Please contact the Hammond Northshore Regional Airport or pickup at the Greater Hammond Chamber:

Hammond Northshore Regional Airport
600 Judge Leon Ford Drive
Hammond, LA 70401

Greater Hammond Chamber
(in the Historic Hammond Train Depot)
400 NW Railroad Ave,
Hammond, LA 70401
call Hammond airportcall Greater Hammond chamber