Air & Water shows threaten by sequestration cuts

Sequestration cuts are threatening more than just critical programs.

Cuts to the military will take money away from public relations activates before combat operations.

Now in it’s 14th year, the South Shore Air Show in Gary, Ind draws a massive crowd of more than 600,000 people and pumps millions of dollars into the local economy.  Unless congress reaches a deal by Friday, the airshow, along with others around the country, might have to be cancelled.  That’s because if the sequester kicks in, all U.S. Military air show teams will be grounded until further notice.

“If there’s no money for them to be in the air, they can’t practice, therefore they can’t fly and it becomes a long list of cascading problems.  If we don’t have military acts, we can’t have a show,” said Speros Batistatos, President of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority.

Batistatos says planning a show of this magnitude requires certainty.  Commitment from headlining acts must be secured well in advance.  Every year the South Shore Airshow pumps 7 to 8 million dollars into communities throughout northwest Indiana.

Air and water shows are also the best recruiting tools for the volunteer U.S. military.

“There a lot of very important investments by feds in air shows and military aircraft,” said Batistatos .  “We’d like to see it resolved.”

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