Public air show part of Big Country AirFest canceled due to federal cuts

POSTED: 7:35 AM Mar 22 2013
ABILENE, Texas -

The public air show portion of Big Country AirFest 2013 has been canceled.

The following is the press release from Big Country AirFest:

"Due to the changing landscape of budget cuts and the current environment of sequestration, the public Air Show portion of this year's AirFest has been cancelled.

According to the local committee, the May 3-4 schedule of EAA Chapter 471 Private Pilot Fly-In events and the SARL Sanctioned Air Races will proceed as planned.

“Abilene has always had a strong partnership with Dyess Air Force Base. In 2007, when the Air Force scaled back their air show to every other year, we stepped in and said we could offer it at the Abilene Regional Airport,” said Steve Krazer, AirFest Chairman. “So we had a great mix of military planes and civilian show aircraft.”

Federal budget cuts have impacted Air Shows across the Country, as military support to non-Department of Defense organizations for outreach activities has ceased, including but not limited to, military equipment displays at civilian air shows, parades, and civic events. Effective March 1, all aviation support, such as flyovers, jumps, and aircraft static displays were cancelled.

“Where other military installations cancelled their Air Show immediately, our community kept working to find alternative ways to continue our 2013 event,” said Gray Bridwell, founding AirFest Chairman and committee member. “The reality is our event is a huge success because of contributions by both the Base and by the Community. Based on the direction our military has been given to reduce spending to the maximum extent possible, which precludes Air Force participation in civilian Air Shows such as ours, we felt it would be best to cancel this year’s public Air Show.”

Vendors and who have committed to this year’s event will receive a full refund.

For information on the Dyess Big Country AirFest for 2014, visit the website at http://bigcountryAirFest.org/