ST. GEORGE — The Colorado City airport has been named the 2023 airport of the year by the Arizona Department of Transportation, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Airport Advisory Board Member Darlene Stubbs told St. George News this was perfect timing for the honorary title since the Colorado City Municipal Airport Fly-in and Airshow is Saturday, Sept. 30, starting at 9 a.m.
“We’ve worked hard as a team to revamp the Colorado City airport and get the momentum moving in a positive direction in terms of the experience it provides the community and also the engagement of community members,” Stubbs said.
The Aeronautics Group for the Arizona Department of Transportation said in a news release that community engagement and recent upgrades secured the award for the airport.
Stubbs said “sprucing up” the grounds included environmentally friendly landscaping around the terminal, new perimeter fencing, and vending machine upgrades that allow for Apple Pay and credit cards. Fiber optics were installed to upgrade internet service and plans to create another 13 hangars.
Much of the work was completed by volunteers. Community engagement involved over 300 students touring the airport and learning its procedures.
Stubbs said the fastest-growing event has been the fly-in and airshow, which attracted over 2,000 people last year, said Stubbs who is the event coordinator and creator. Along with Airport Manager Ladell Bistline Sr., they created the event to help promote aviation, education and tourism.
This will be the third year the event is held and will start on Saturday, Sept. 30, at 9 a.m. with a free pancake breakfast. There will be the airshow at 10:30 a.m. with two breaks for aircraft to fly out at 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m., followed by the candy drop at 1:30 p.m.
There will be first-come, first-served airplane rides starting at 7:30 a.m..
Skydive Mesquite will be flying in the U.S. flag for the opening ceremony while Kathee Jai Cooke will sing the national anthem.
Several of last year’s entertainment will again be at this year’s event. This includes aerobatics pilots “Fear Boss” John Melby, “Air Boss” Bob Evans, Bob Freeman and Red Thunder Airshows. The Red Thunder Airshow is the nation’s only 2-ship Yak-50 air team.
“Planning the airshow and fly-in has taken an enormous amount of time, money and other resources but has been completely worth it,” Stubbs said.
She added it has been huge in bringing a new light into the community that has been blossoming quickly. This is the second time it has been named Airport of the Year for Arizona. The first time was in 1992 when Bistline started as manager.
Vice-Mayor and City Councilman Dalton Barlow was ecstatic about the accomplishment.
“The Colorado City Airport is a great asset to our community,” he said. “It’s been exciting to see what can be accomplished when we work together.”
He also attributed this accomplishment to Stubbs and Bistline Sr. for making this possible and their hard work to the Arizona Airport of the Year.
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