Each year, the Thunder On The Lakeshore airshow is made possible through the continued dedication of volunteers. There are over 75 committee chairs with hundreds of volunteers that cover diverse areas of responsibility which help to bring the show to the communities of North Eastern Wisconsin and beyond.
Manitowoc Aviation Resources is the non-profit group that volunteers work under, with a mission to provide educational resources and activities to anyone interested in the aviation hobby or professional occupations. The group is led by a board of directors that consists of diverse representatives from city and county government, the local Chamber of Commerce, and the local aviation community, including representatives from Chapter 383 EAA in Manitowoc.
Education is a primary focus for this group, and the airshow education committee provides seminars, airplane tours, performer presentations, and numerous other events that focus on what it's like to be a pilot, historic aircraft stories, and real life activities aboard vintage airplanes.
In addition to the Education focus, there is the airshow itself that takes many months of planning by committee chairpersons. Activities start immediately after the show's conclusion with wrap up sessions and a "best practices" meeting to review what went right and what went wrong with the show.
Areas of work include signing up vendors to display goods at the show, space planning to accommodate the many static displays, physical facility management including set up and tear down of vendor exhibits, porta potties, waste removal and clean up. Management of hospitality areas including the food tent and hangar exhibits (church services and RC airplanes). Safe movement of performing and transient airplanes on the field, crowd control, safety, and the pure entertainment portion of the show includes the announcers, performers, and air boss. Hospitality for the performers, sponsors, and volunteers takes up committee volunteer's time and provides a comfortable back drop for the airshow.
Volunteers for the airshow perform many duties, including cleaning up the grounds, arranging for parking cars, setting up vendors, putting up buildings, collecting cars for performers use, arranging for hotel rooms for performers and support crew, making the press aware of the activities, arranging for VIP airplane rides, providing radios for the committee and airshow staff to communicate, military and civilian performer hospitality activities at airshow events and during the show, helping to launch and recover hot air balloons, working in food booths, providing security for performers and civilian and military aircraft on the field, and other activities that can be very rewarding for volunteers.
It's a lot of hard work, but very fun and exciting to be a volunteer for the Thunder On The Lakeshore airshow and Manitowoc Aviation Resources Inc. Please consider volunteering your time next year to help us put on our 19th show and be part of the action of North Eastern Wisconsin's premiere airshow, Thunder on the Lakeshore.