Staff Reporter 

It's festival weekend

Airway Heights celebration features annual car show, watermelon races, activities


The city of Airway Heights will celebrate its festival, Aug. 22-23, at Sunset Park.

This year’s festival will once again feature the 31st annual Ford Open Car Show, Saturday, Aug. 23, promoted by Northwest Thunderbirds and Fords Unlimited car clubs. The show will feature all models of cars, trucks and motorcycles.

Thunderbirds Car Club president, Dan Garcia, said his group is taking the lead on this year’s show from Fords Unlimited.

“We’re very excited, though nervous of taking over for the first time in 20 years,” Garcia said. “We’re looking forward to it.”

Garcia said last year’s car show had 270 cars and he hopes to get 300 this year.

In addition to the cars on display, the Airway Heights Fire Department will have a 1936 LaFrance engine next to their own engine. The Police Department will also have their cars at the event.

“We do this so residents can get to know the services in their city,” Garcia said. “OFID (Operation Family Identification) will also be providing services to families and take a child’s information and photo in case they go missing. They will be doing this for free.”

The car show awards will be at 2:30 p.m. with 148 awards given for first, second and third place.

After the car show, the Airway Heights Kiwanis Club will host their second Airway’s Got Talent competition. The first round of competition will take place at 5 p.m. when 20 participants will compete. Judges will pick 5-10 contestants to move on to the final round at 7 - 8:30 p.m. The first-place winner will receive $750. Second- and third-place winners will be awarded $500 and $50, respectively.

Jacob Powers of the Airway Heights Kiwanis Club, said this year’s competition is going to be “amazing.”

The fourth annual Watermelon Races will take place Friday night. Parks, Recreation and Community Services director J.C. Kennedy explained there are some new rules for this year’s competition, such as allowing contestants to build a chassis for their racer.

Before, contestants could only put a front and rear axle attached to their watermelons, but it was hard to keep the watermelons straight,” Kennedy said. “We had a lot of (crashes), but not a lot of racing. Contestants still have to attach axles but they can engineer their own chassis out of plastic or plywood.”

Residents can enter the “Community Challenge,” where they have a chance at winning $50.

Local businesses will compete in the corporate cup to win the traveling plaque, currently held by Motion Auto Supply.

Kennedy added that winners use the Mallet of Justice to smash the loser’s racer.

Tufnel, a local rock band out of Spokane, will perform at the festival. There will also be local merchants, as well as a “Chalk It Up” art competition and other children’s games at the event.

Both Kennedy and Garcia would like to grow the festival and the car show. Garcia said he would like to add more activities for families. He would also like to collaborate with car clubs outside of Washington and bring their cars to future shows.

“We’re also looking to do a used car lot,” Garcia said.

Kennedy said he would like to bring in more people from the community and from out of town.

“Hopefully we can continue to have bigger events associated with the festival and find other ways to enhance it,” Kennedy said.

Al Stover can be reached at


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