Business and Economics

Sequestration Forces 2013 Gary Air Show Cancellation

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The impact of the federal government sequestration will ground military units and planes initially set to take flight in the 20-13 South Shore Air Show.  Renetta Dubose gives us the details of the cancellation and if the Region will enjoy the show in the future…..

Renetta:  The entertainment in the sky that draws thousands near and far to Miller Beach in Gary every summer will force spectators to create fun in the sun themselves.  South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority President and CEO Speros Batistatos announced the 2013 South Shore Air Show…scheduled for July 12th through the 14th…  has been canceled due to the impact of sequestration, a Congressional budget standoff in Washington.

Speros Batistatos:  For the first time in six years my staff is going to enjoy the summer.  We are not going to go out in 100 degree heat and kill ourselves.  We will look at 2014 and what promise that holds.

The cancellation of the 13-year-old show is primarily due to the federal government grounding all military air craft,  leaving flyovers and other aerial demonstrations out of the question.  Bastistatos says the CVA could not meet the high standards of the past without the government being part of the show.  While the free show did not create revenue … Batistatos says the estimated economic impact from those who attended the show visiting nearby businesses  was between $7- and $8-million a year.

Batistatos: If you think about all these people coming out and the fact that they spent ten bucks…you start to see how the case registers ring.

Research conducted by South Shore CVA shows spectator counts more than doubled between the 2007 and 2012 air shows … bringing in a total of 3-million people from close to 100 U.S. cities.  No arrests were ever made, a testament to work done by the Gary Police Department.  Another partner is the Gary Jet Center.  Owner Wil Davis believes the show can go on if the Steel City joins forces with the Windy City.

Wil Davis:  Chicago is getting more and more difficult to have an air show despite military.  It has to do with the way O’Hare has changed and it may be sometime in the future, in my opinion, that the Chicago Air Show moves over to the best location and that’s Miller Beach.

The city of Gary is not the only location without a summer air show.  Thirty-seven air shows have been canceled throughout the United States in places such as Indianapolis and Las Vegas … citing budget issues.  International shows have also fallen to the sequestration, in Germany and Korea to name a few.

Batistatos:  Surely 2.5 percent could be cut out of the budget somewhere else instead of grounding the military’s recruiting tool.  Air shows aren’t fluff.  They show kids what their careers could look like.

South Shore CVA has not planned any other events in place of the Air Show this summer.  In Gary … Renetta Dubose, Lakeshore News.

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