JACKSONVILLE, Ark. – For the first time in five years the air show is back, and the crowds came out in full force to see our servicemen and women demonstrate their skills while also bringing business to Jacksonville.

The air show had a little bit of everything from the thunderbirds to golden knights, tens of thousands of people were entertained, and one local restaurant geared up for those crowds too.

Lt. Colonel Matthew Styles, Director of the Air Show says his team has been preparing for over a year for the show.

“Our number was about 250 (thousand) is what we were expecting, and I think we’re going to be closer to the 300,000 mark by the end of today,” Colonel Styles said.

Colonel Styles says the show has something for everyone.

“What makes us different one is you get to see the paratroopers which you don’t get to see at any other air show, but two we try to bring people from all branches here,” Col. Styles said. “So that not only the air force but the marines, the coast guard, the army, you can come and see a little bit of what they do on a daily basis.”

As crowds took in the hard work of the pilots in the sky, Chicken Country in Jacksonville was working hard preparing for them.

Bridget Burton owns Chicken Country and says it’s a family-owned business.

“I vamped up my employees today and asked them to stay later if they hit us when it’s over or anytime,” Burton said.

Burton says she has seen crowds from the air show in previous years.

 “Anything that will help the economy in Jacksonville, we’re for it and we’re ready for them,” Burton said.

They’re located near the base, and Burton is happy the show is back.

“The future is bright, and we want anything happening in Jacksonville to bring the crowds to help us along,” Burton said.

Colonel Styles is happy its back too.

“It just shows that we’re all coming back together and allowing the last three years that have kind of separated the country for the pandemic to put everybody back into a group in a big setting where everybody can come back and have a good time,” Colonel Styles said.

Officials with the air show are aiming to have the next air show in 2025– and are thankful for the support they’ve felt this weekend. The total attendance numbers will be released within the next few days.