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in 2003 and Vidalia was the first recipient of the award. The Onion Festival has also received the award in 2005 and in 2009, but the Blue Angels didn’t want to keep giving it to the same winner so they have spread it out over the years.

Temples said, “We didn’t know we were going to get the award. The Blue Angels have their manual that they refer to as their ‘Cook Book,’ and we have to follow that exactly as they tell you to. They gave it to us because we do just what they ask of us. Plus we treat them with Southern hospitality. The pilots have told us that we just treat them like normal people. We also go above and beyond for the crew who get left out a lot because they work around the clock. We make sure that they are fed and entertained and we do not leave them out. They said that this was the best show and the most fun show they had been to in years.

“The air show is a lot of work, especially for the Blue Angels. It takes a lot to get all of the equipment, fuel, and everything else involved. There is a lot of time and work, and without all of the volunteers that we have, this wouldn’t be possible.”

Andy Woodruff, the 2022 Air Show Chairman, added, “We are just honored to be able to receive this award. The great folks of this community put in so much time and effort, and this really shows the dedication. This really means something. We are the only winner across the United States. This goes out to the Air Show Committee and the Onion Festival Committee, and shows the pride we take in what we do for this community.”

Vidalia Mayor Doug Roper stated, “To see what this festival and air show have become over the years is impressive. It really does take more work than people know. To look at each show sight that they performed at over the year and to see that a community of our size wins this award speaks volumes of who we are. Nobody rolls the carpet out like we do for the Blue Angels. We just have that heart of service for them as they do serving our country. I think we forget that sometimes when we see them perform, but these pilots and crew are military members and have put their lives on the line to serve our country. To do what we do for them for a weekend is the least we can do.”

Jake Cleghorn, Chairman for the 2023 and 2024 Onion Festival said, “The 2023 Onion Festival will be a regular festival and will not have an air show, but in 2024 the Blue Angels will be back. We are the only show sight for the Blue Angels in Georgia in 2024. We hope that will bring back the great crowds and we can have another great show. We again plan to make sure that we do all that they ask, and continue to go above and beyond for them.”

With that, the Blue Angels will be back in Vidalia in 2024 for the Onion Festival from April 27-28.

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