smoky mountain air show!

Over the weekend we went to the Smoky Mountain Air Show, the first show held in Knoxville in over 16 years apparently. (I didn't learn this until we were walking in on Saturday, so I'm glad we went!) Some friends invited us to go with them--and carpool so we could use their $40 parking pass-- so we took them up on their offer even though I was a little nervous about an entire day of huge crowds, long waits for bathrooms and overpriced food. That kind of scene is never my thing, especially not when I'm pregnant and honestly expected to spend most of the day bathroom-hopping. ;) But we had a blast!

(Side note: most of the pictures are totally overexposed. It was incredibly sunny!)

Saturday was a beautiful day to be outside; cool in the morning as we arrived and plenty warm by the time we left. Deric and I got a little sunburned but thankfully we were more vigilant with Jake's sunscreen so he was fine. When we first arrived at the airport where the show was held, hardly anyone was there. So we found a good spot to watch the afternoon show and then explored the planes parked on the tarmac. We only explored maybe one-third of the entire venue but there was plenty to see.

^checking out a helicopter first

We went inside a few of the huge airplanes and climbed up on the wings of the smaller planes to look inside the cockpits.

Inside one of the planes they had some sort of artillery...things. (Bullets, basically? I'm obviously not the person to ask.) They weighed more than Jake does--about 45 pounds--and they're all stored in what looks like a card catalog. The soldiers have to load each one individually but incredibly quickly. It was impressive!

By the time we'd walked through all the planes, the air show was starting up so we headed back to our spot on the grass. The only downfall of the day was waiting over an hour in line for cheeseburgers for lunch (and paying about $40 for food and bottled water by the time the day was over, but that's to be expected).

^'Aeroshell' planes started off the show
^You can barely see it, but the planes are circling around a skydiver holding the American flag while the anthem played at the start of the show.

The friends we went with have a little girl Jake's age and they did so well all afternoon, playing together and being goofy. I didn't pack much in the way of entertainment for Jake because I thought he'd watch the airplanes most of the time. And he did watch the planes but after an hour or so, his attention wandered. That's when his little friend came in handy and they played in our makeshift tent together off and on for the remainder of the afternoon. We weren't allowed to bring an actual tent, so Deric was smart and packed a tablecloth and those clips to hold your beach towel to your chair and rigged up a tent between the strollers. It ended up being a lifesaver because by the afternoon, it felt like July outside and we didn't want those babies frying in the sun. I stayed under there for a little while too. ;)

^the grand finale, the Blue Angels! This was the only decent picture I got; those guys are fast!

As we've talked about the air show over the last few days, it seems like the jets left the biggest impression on Jake. He really loved wearing his headphones and will tell anyone who asks about how loud the jets were. At church on Sunday, one of the teens asked him about the airplanes and Jake told him that he had to put on his earrings because they were so loud. :) Close, buddy, real close. It was overall a great day and I'm glad we braved the crowds to experience something we probably won't do again for quite a few years.

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