|A Brief History|
SkyFest was created after the death of Jerry James Schrimsher. Jerry was one of the first skydiving instructor/examiners in the sport. Making his first jump in 1959, with more than 3500 skydives and over 3500 flying hours, Jerry spent most of his life in the air. Jerry held a pilot’s license for just about every type of flying object known to man. Mentoring and coaching became Jerry's goal early in his 41 years of skydiving history. He immediately saw the need that many students still struggle with today almost 50 years later. Students do not have anyone to work with unless it is a paid coach jump after completing the AFF (Accelerated Freefall) or Static Line course. Never asking for anything in return Jerry donated his time and money by sharing his knowledge with the new or experienced jumper as a safe and trusted “jump buddy”. He would be the first to take you by the hand and spend the day with you by inviting you on his skydives. Those who were around when Jerry was jumping refer to themselves as one of “Jerry’s Kids”. To this day a “Jerry’s Kid” can be found almost anywhere in the world.
Jerry believed continued education of the sport, its equipment and aircraft would create a safer environment in the sky and on the ground. SkyFest and The Jerry Schrimsher Skydiving Scholarship Fund (JSF) were established after Jerry’s death to continue his efforts in keeping upcoming jumpers safer and longer in the sport. Jerry believed that coaching programs provide the bridge between student status and becoming a safer experienced long-term skydiver. He also knew that we needed more skydivers to get involved in coaching, if for nothing else, the education alone.
Jerry passed away on October 14, 2000 at the age of 65, after completing a beautiful skydive with some of "Jerry's Kids". The Jerry Schrimsher Memorial Boogie (JSM) was held in July of 2001, with very little changes being made to the event over the years, the JSM became the first SkyFest.
The JSF has donated over $20,000.00 in coach jumps or obtaining ratings to 65 new or experienced jumpers at 9 DZ’s in the US over the last 7 years. SkyFest and the JSF sole purpose are to assist in the growth, retention and safety of our sport. The enormous success of SF tells us we are achieving its mission and we can honestly say that SkyFest is the boogie that: “Pays it Skywards”.