CLEVELAND– It’s an annual Labor Day event that draws thousands to Burke Lakefront Airport.
But now, the Cleveland National Air Show might not happen this summer.
“Planning and preparation for the 2013 Air Show is proceeding, but we are going to sit tight and see how sequestration shakes out,” said Kim Dell, an organizer of the event.
That’s because federal budget cuts, also know as the sequester, have drastically reduced air shows across the country.
“The Air Force notified us that the Thunderbirds will stand down starting April 1. The U.S. Navy Blue Angels have canceled one month of their air shows, the month of April. That’s because the Navy is waiting to see what will happen also,” added Dell.
The Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels take turns coming to Cleveland every year.
Now organizers must cautiously plan a show without any stars.
“If we were put in a position where we didn’t have any Department of Defense assets, then we would most likely have to stand down for 2013 and fire back up for 2014,” said Dell.
The last time the Cleveland National Air Show didn’t have the Blue Angels or the Thunderbirds was back in 2004 and 1995.
Both times, the planes were deployed overseas to Asia.
However, despite their absence, the show continued on and was not canceled.
“I’ve been going for about four years and take my boys,” said Manuel Coss, of Parma.
Organizers say the city of Cleveland stands to lose over seven million dollars if the show is canceled.
A final decision will be made June 1.
“Labor day will be very quiet if there is no air show,” said Dell.