Yes, it was hot and sweaty. Shade was at a premium. People were everywhere. The shuttle buses were crowded. Many of the lines were long. But what an extravaganza of aerobatics, static displays, exhibits ... and good, old fashioned patriotism.
Lt. Col. Dwayne Gray has spent much of this week trying to recover. The Robins air field operations chief was project officer for the event. He has been sleeping, eating, dreaming, planning, organizing -- maybe even haunted by -- the event for at least six months.
But now the reports are in and the assessments are glowing.
"The Commemorative Air Force has hundreds of aircraft and they go to every air show," Gray indicated, "and the guy in charge said this was the best military air show he has been to in five years."
The Navy Blue Angels, the featured attraction, issued a similar report.
"They were so impressed that they would like to make this an every other year event," Gray said. "They were impressed with the Southern hospitality -- the way we treated them, the food and the equipment we had for their aircraft."
Even the toughest critics -- moms with kids clinging to them --were pleased.
"They were bragging about the creativity of the show including having plenty of stuff for kids," he said. "They appreciated that and it allowed (the parents) to enjoy the air show while the kids were having fun."
Make no mistake. The crowds were an issue.
"We were expecting about 120,000 to 130,000 in attendance both days," Gray noted. "That was based on attendance at the 2006 and 2009 shows. But we had 110,000 just on Saturday this year."
The huge Saturday influx created parking issues at the off-base sites, particularly at Macon Regional Airport where additional areas had to be opened for the overflow. There also was some delay in getting people on the buses and shuttling them to the base flight line.
On the flight line, concession lines were long in part because food could not be delivered to vendors as quickly as planned.
"Our services people had enough food on hand," Gray said, "but the huge crowds were blocking the resupply routes."
Yet most people took everything in stride and Gray appreciated the crowd's patience.
"Just to put this in perspective, we hosted more people on Saturday than has ever attended a Super Bowl," he said. "And a Super Bowl is held at a stadium equipped to handle that type of crowd -- parking, security, food service, restrooms. For us to host a crowd larger than the Super Bowl and for the crowd to cooperate like they did ... well,we were very thankful."
The show was also a tourist boom for the area. People from Utah, Florida, South Carolina and many other states were there.
Several foreign countries were represented also.
"We had people from Spain, Germany ... It would be great to host this on a recurring schedule just due to the outpouring of tourism," Gray pointed out.
Due to budget constrainst, the Robins show may be the most stellar in the Defense Department this year.
"A majority of our air shows have been cancelled," Gray said. "Also, air show performers are cancelling."
The Air Force is restricting its participation to The Thunderbirds and to ten performances by the F-22. Single aircraft demonstrations by the A-10, F-16, F-15 and C-17 have been scrubbed.
"So for the F-22 people to pick us as one of the ten was a real win," Gray said.
The show also had a huge educational component. The Red Tails unit -- focused on honoring the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II -- visited a number of local schools. So did the Blue Angels. A Friday open house was held for special needs and Make A Wish kids.
"We tried to let kids know they can rise above whatever trouble they're in," Gray said. "There was a lot of effort to inspire kids behind the scenes and it was real successful."