Lincoln has a long-standing tradition of hosting incredible events, but this August, we elevated that commitment to outstanding new heights – shattering records, uniting our community and boosting our local economy, proving that we can accomplish amazing things together.
After months of detailed planning, hard work and valued collaboration, our Lincoln Chamber of Commerce team proudly hosted the 2023 Guardians of Freedom Airshow on August 26-27 in partnership with the 155th Air Refueling Wing of the Nebraska National Guard, the 55th Wing at Offutt Air Force Base, the Lincoln Airport Authority and the City of Lincoln. Headlined by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, this year’s celebration of the Nebraska Military Department and our flying forces welcomed 340,000 guests, making the 2023 Guardians of Freedom Airshow the largest attendance at a spectator event in our city’s history.
In addition to greatly exceeding the previous record, set 12 years ago when 250,000 people attended the September 2011 airshow, this this year’s two-day, family-friendly event offered a truly unforgettable experience for attendees. Each day featured an opening ceremony honoring the 30-year partnership between the Czech Republic’s military and the Nebraska National Guard, followed by unique performers, stunts, exhibits and displays, including the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels, U.S. Air Force F-16 Viper demo team, U.S. Marine Corps C-130J Super Hercules – Fat Albert and the U.S. Navy’s F-35 C Lightning II demo team, a career fair and STEM experience hosted by the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development and more.
We are a community that understands our greatest successes come from partnerships. This remarkable event was made possible by our valued airshow partners and hosts, as well as members of the Lincoln business community who graciously sponsored and supported the event. Additionally, hundreds of local volunteers, Lincoln Fire and Rescue, Lincoln Police Department, Nebraska State Patrol and other organizations ensured this year’s event ran safely and smoothly throughout the weekend. We extend our gratitude to everyone who played a role in ensuring the success of the airshow, which had an incredibly significant economic benefit for all of Lincoln.
Continuing the impactful streak of supporting our local economy, the days surrounding the Guardians of Freedom airshow are also cause for celebration. Within just one week, we also broke another record with the largest-ever crowd for a women’s sporting event on Nebraska Volleyball Day, welcomed competitors from all 50 states, 14 countries and four continents for Gravel Worlds and packed Pinnacle Bank Arena with fans for its 10th anniversary with the Zach Bryan concert. Combined, the events that comprised this “big week in Lincoln” enhanced the visibility of our community, significantly impacted Lincoln’s economy and supported local tourism, generating valuable business for our hotels, restaurants, bars and retailers.
What a great week to be a part of and an incredible time to call Lincoln home.