Hundreds of fans brave the rain to enjoy ‘Field of Flight’ event

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Hundreds of people filled the fields near Duncan Aviation on Friday for the annual Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival. Fans rode carnival rides, ate funnels cakes and, as soon as the rain cleared around 2 p.m., they sat in lawn chairs and watched the air shows.

“We have the greatest fans in the world. I am absolutely convinced about that,” said organizer Bretten Bailey, who expects 150,000 people to attend the four-day event. “They stayed here through that entire storm and they’re back out here to enjoy everything that we have to offer for the rest of the day.”

The rain pounded on the ground for 30 minutes. When it stopped, gray clouds continued to loom nearby. However, fans stood and sat on the soggy fields to watch back-to-back shows of military planes roaring through the air, doing flips, turns and barrel rolls.

“We love air shows. We used to go to the Muskegon air show all the time but they don’t do those anymore,” said fan Mike Mesman. “So this is our first time here and we’re really loving it.”

The rain continued on and off for most of the afternoon. When it cleared around 4 p.m., the marquee airplane, the F-22 Raptor, took off. Fans had the cameras on the aircraft the entire time.

"It's something completely different, the theatrical air show experience," Bretten said. "[We're] bringing the show to everybody."

Fans loved it. They said they're determined to return despite the weather.

“No matter rain or shine, come out and spend time with your family,” said Erika Corning.  “Have fun. Make do with what you got.”

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