Orlando International Celebrates Tradition With Liberty Weekend

Press Release
The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra performed at Terminal C.
Captain Steve Nakagawa, USN, Retired, center, holds the Kittinger Award after a presentation by GOAA CEO Kevin J. Thibault, left, GOAA Immediate Past Chairman Carson Good, Board Chairman Tim Weisheyer, and Board Member Joe Nunziata. The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra performed at Terminal C.
The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra performed at Terminal C.

ORLANDO, Fla. — For the first time in its decades-long history, Orlando International Airport’s Liberty Weekend concert was held in a new location, marking a familiar tradition while celebrating change. The free patriotic concert, featuring the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, took place at Terminal C, the airport’s newest terminal and a change from the concert’s original location in the Atrium at Terminals A & B.

Along with the concert, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) carried on another tradition – presenting the annual Colonel Joe Kittinger Award to an outstanding Central Florida resident. The award, named after the late local icon of military aviation, pays tribute to a local military member who exemplifies excellence in aviation and community service. This year, the honor was awarded to Captain Steve Nakagawa, USN, Retired.

“This event is part of our Strategic Plan, which focuses on engaging the community, and is a thank you to the traveling public at large,” said GOAA CEO Kevin J. Thibault during remarks at the event. “It is also a recognition of the many freedoms we enjoy. We owe a debt of gratitude to servicemembers like Captain Nakagawa, who wore the uniform and bravely fought to protect our nation throughout the years.”

“Liberty Weekend has evolved and embraces the people who make Central Florida unique and a wonderful place to raise a family, start a business, visit, or call home,” said GOAA Board Chairman Tim Weisheyer. “It is a very meaningful event that allows us to pay tribute to a local veteran who has devoted his life to serving our country and our community.”

Nakagawa served 28 years in the armed forces, including six deployments overseas, having flown more than 20 different military and civilian aircraft. He currently serves as the Cenfluence Program Director for the Florida High Tech Corridor, a 23-county economic development organization.

The Orlando Philharmonic with conductor Maestro Chris Confessore filled Terminal C with patriotic tunes and other selections, including a medley of Broadway hits. Prior to the Philharmonic’s performance, members of the Central Florida Community Arts Choir entertained the audience with traditional music.