While the Waterloo Air Show was best known for what it brought to the skies, it also had a strong ground game.

People who work for, at and with the Region of Waterloo International Airport set up booths on the airport grounds to showcase their particular connections to local aeronautics.

When the show was discontinued in 2015, airport workers got together to figure out a way to keep that part of the event going, even if the aerial show was no more.

The result was Aviation Fun Day, the second edition of which took place Saturday.

Airport general manager Chris Wood described it as “a day for families to come out and enjoy the airport” by seeing all facets of its operation – from air traffic control to flight instruction to the work of the Canada Border Service Agency.

Bushra Saiyed, who visited the event with her younger sister and their parents, said she liked getting answers to questions she had about airplanes, like whether their wings move when they fly.

“I learned lots of things I didn’t know,” she said.

Twelve-year-old William Simonian already knew a bit about planes – he plans to start taking pilot lessons once he’s old enough – but said Saturday’s event taught him a few things, like how they taxi on the runway.

“I’ve always loved airplanes,” he said.

“I think they’re amazing vehicles.”

For Wood, the day represents a chance to give families a taste of what airport workers do on a daily basis.

“There’s something about the aviation industry that really grips people. If we can help that take hold, then we’ve done our jobs today,”

While Simonian might already be feeling that grip, Saiyed isn’t so sure it’s the right path for her – especially after seeing the “complicated” controls of a cockpit.

“It looks dangerous,” she said.

With reporting by Tyler Calver