“The Friendliest Show on Turf”
For the past several years the second weekend in July has meant one thing, time to load up the camper and head out to Geneseo NY. Warbirds on the grass with cornfields in the background is an aviation photographers dream but there’s something more to it than just that. The whole feel of the show is unlike any other I’ve ever attended, like visiting an old friend who just happens to have a 4,700’ runway in their backyard. There are no pat downs or bag searches at the gate in fact there are no gates or fences at Genny, just a rope strung along some temporary fence posts as a crowd line that everyone seems to obey.
This year due to some other commitments I could only drive out for the weekend instead of the typical 4 day trip to include Media and Fly In Day. Leaving the camper at home I wasn’t sure where I would be sleeping until, at the last minute, I was offered a bed in a friend’s camper. The friend, Jim, is a Canadian gentleman I met at last year’s show; we sat together on the line snapping pictures and traded stories (some even about airplanes). When Jim heard I would be sleeping in on or under the car he graciously opened his “home” after only knowing me for a weekend, but that’s just Genny (Thanks HOOV!).
“The Greatest Show on Turf” is as much about the people as it is about the aircraft. Is Genny the biggest warbird show in the country? No. Do they have big jet teams as headliners like the Blue Angels or Thunderbirds? No. What is it then that’s keeps people coming back year after year? From my experience it seems to be a nice mix of Warbirds and a chance to sit in a field with an old friend you see once a year and enjoy each other’s company. The show is as laid back as they come and even the pilots seem to take a step back from the Rat Race and enjoy connecting with old friends.
Most airshows today are cold and impersonal, the only connection we have to the performers and the aircraft they fly is through the announcer. The planes and pilots are hidden away from the public only to be seen across a barrier as they taxi in and out. Things are a bit different at Genny, if you’d like to get up close to an airplane, chat with the pilot and get your picture taken with them go right ahead. All of the airplanes on the field are parked on the same rope line that separates the crowd from the taxiway and are only off limits when the ramp is “Hot”.
The personality of any show comes from the host and in this case it is The 1941 Historical Aircraft Group or “HAG”. This dedicated group of die hard volunteers take great pride in what they do, honoring our veterans, preserving history and putting it in the air for all to see. In spite of some aircraft no shows and the occasional downpour, schedules were juggled, pilots were flexible and the show went on.
Thank you HAG, I’ll see you all next year and Jim…… Save me a spot?