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Elk Grove Citizen

Record-breaking Year at The California Capital Airshow

Oct 05, 2023 12:09PM ● By Lindsey Nelson, Niche Communications

The United States Air Force Thunderbirds F-16 demonstration team soared through the Sacramento region’s skies this September. Photo by Rick Sloan

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - The California Capital Airshow (CCA), presented by Sacramento County in partnership with the City of Rancho Cordova, successfully wrapped its 2023 Airshow on Sunday, September 24, with more than 105,000 attendees at the two-day full-capacity event. The 17th Annual Airshow featured performances from the world’s most talented pilots and thrilling aircraft, including the legendary United States Air Force Thunderbirds jet demonstration team.

To kick-off the weekend, the Airshow hosted a free community event on Friday at Village Green Park in Rancho Cordova. Attendees met airshow performers, including the USAF Thunderbirds, and enjoyed live music, food trucks, and activities provided by local STEM and sports organizations.

On Saturday and Sunday, the Sacramento skies were filled with the sound of U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team, the return of the U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster Demonstration, U.S. Navy F-18 Super Hornet, an awe-inspiring lineup of world-class civilian aerobatic performers, and an extraordinary selection of rare World War II aircraft.

“The feeling of bringing the Airshow back to full capacity for the first time since 2019 is indescribable,” said Darcy Brewer, CCA Executive Director. “It was a perfect weekend, made even more memorable by seeing the joy and excitement the event brought to the Sacramento region’s families and aviation enthusiasts.”

True to CCA’s mission of nurturing young people’s interest in STEM careers, the Airshow hosted a special ‘Girls in Aviation Day’ on Saturday, where girls ages 8-18 were invited to learn more about what their future may look like in aviation, aerospace, or related career fields. The event featured mentors from Travis Air Force Base, UPS, Beale Air Force Base, Metro Fire, Mach 5 Aviation, Aerospace Museum of California, and William Jessup University.

“The greatest thrill for us this weekend is knowing that we have inspired young people to dream big and explore the world of aviation and STEM,” said Terrence McNamara, CCA Board Chairman.

At the center of the Airshow was a ‘Cold War Legacy’ pop-up museum, which honored Mather Air Force Base’s integral role in the Cold War and efforts such as the Korean War, Cuban Missile Crisis, and Vietnam War. Attendees took in informational exhibits and were able to get up-close to Cold War-era aircraft throughout the event including Colonel Douglas MacArthur’s “Connie.”

“We are especially grateful to the over one thousand volunteers who work tirelessly to produce this thrilling and meaningful community event every year,” said Darcy Brewer. “We simply couldn’t do it without them.”

Special thanks also to CCA sponsors Sacramento County, the City of Rancho Cordova, Knight Elk Grove Dodge, 7Up, Lockheed Martin, Modern Aviation, Michelob Ultra, Visit Rancho Cordova, Thunder Valley Casino Resort, Matheson, SMUD, Atlas Disposal, Fox 40, and iHeart Media.

The Airshow’s performances, themes, exhibits, and activities are new and different every year, and planning is already underway for 2024. CCA will be releasing more information about that event in the coming months. For more information on the Airshow, go to

Established in 2004, the California Capital Airshow 501(c)3 plans and operates the exciting, family-friendly annual event designed to honor the Sacramento region’s rich aviation heritage and veterans while using the power and magic of flight to inspire young people. CCA gives back to the community through STEM scholarships, charitable group donations, and exciting educational youth programming throughout the year. For more information, please visit the California Capital Airshow website.

A sold-out crowd of more than 105,000 attendees enjoyed 204 acres of event space on September 23-24. Photo by Rick Sloan 

 “The feeling of bringing the Airshow back to full capacity for the first time since 2019 is indescribable,” said Darcy Brewer, CCA Executive Director

 The A-10 Thunderbolt II has become a popular feature at air shows largely due to the plane’s close connection and aerial support of U.S. foot soldiers in distant lands. Photo by Rick Sloan

The U.S. Navy F-18 Super Hornet fighter was part of the awe-inspiring lineup of world-class demonstration performances. Photo by Rick Sloan