Popular Gig Harbor airshow finds new home in Bremerton

An airshow thought to be grounded for good will take to the skies once more as the newly named Wings Over Washington Air Show will be held at Bremerton National Airport this August.

Formerly known as Gig Harbor Wings and Wheels, the airshow had been a staple Fourth of July event since its inception in 2010, bringing around 7,000 attendees on average to the Tacoma Narrows Airport before COVID threw a wrench into the 2020 show.

After welcoming around 4,500 spectators for a reformatted 2021 drive-in air show, the event was first postponed and then canceled after Pierce County announced in a letter on June 3, 2022 that it could no longer be held at the local airport. The county’s airport and ferry administrator Trever Threde cited a number of factors that led to the decision, including a lack of anticipated space and an increasing lack of support from airport businesses.

While it was believed to be the event’s permanent end, the show’s director Doug Fratoni said there were already plans in motion to find a new location.

“We knew that we were going to do a show for more than a year,” he said. “Even before we had it canceled last year, the Port of Bremerton had reached out to our group and asked us if we would love to do a show out at Bremerton National Airport, and we said yes.”

After a soft announcement of the show’s rebranding and relocation March 22, an official announcement was posted on the show’s Facebook page April 14 confirming the show’s return in partnership with the Port of Bremerton. The announcement emphasized the benefits of moving the event from Gig Harbor to nearby Bremerton, hinting at the possibility for the event’s growth.

“It’s a great airport,” Fratoni said. “It’s got long runways; it’s got a much larger ramp space than Gig Harbor has, and the pilot’s association. I met with them, and they’re all on board.”

The show is set to highlight a variety of classic military aircraft, as well as some “world-class aerobatic performers” as it has in years past. Additionally, the airport is believed to give attendees a “better guest experience” with higher capacity and more available parking.

The event will be held August 19 and 20, and work is commencing to secure sponsors and vendors for the event. Fratoni also said they are looking for volunteers and non-profits to partner with them.

While it’s not a return to the classic Fourth of July time slot, it could be the start of another Bremerton tradition.

“Everyone’s eager to get this thing off the ground,” Fratoni said. “It’s been a long time, and I think it was just lacking a group that really wanted to tackle putting one on.”