CLEVELAND — The 2013 Cleveland National Air Show has been canceled due to the impact of Federal Government Sequestration budget cuts on the Department of Defense and Aerospace Industry.
The air show was scheduled to take place August 31 through September 2, which is Labor Day weekend.
A news release sent Monday afternoon quotes a Secretary of Defense memorandum stating, “All aerial demonstrations, including flyovers, jump team demonstrations and participation in civilian air shows and military open houses will cease as of April 1, 2013.”
The Executive Committee Cleveland National Air Show, Inc. Board of Trustees made the decision to cancel the show “after considering the effect this will have on programming, attendance and the financial viability of producing a 2013 event.”
Plans are still ongoing for the 2014 Cleveland National Air Show featuring the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.
More than 50 percent of what visitors see at the Cleveland National Air Show is provided by the military. Air show director Chuck Newcomb said the budget cuts affect nearly every aspect of his show.
Employees who work on the air show will keep their jobs for now.
“On behalf of the Cleveland National Air Show Board of Trustees, we would like to thank all of the sponsors, vendors, dedicated volunteers and fans of their continued support and patronage. It is their effort and community involvement that has made the Air Show a Labor Day weekend tradition in downtown Cleveland for half a century,” he said in a statement.
The economic impact on Cleveland is substantial. Over the three-day weekend, Cleveland’s economy takes in more than $7 million.
County Executive Ed Fitzgerald said he’s still trying to save the and is looking into the legalities of pulling the plug now.
“We are going to explore all of our options, and I hope people are mad as hell about this,” said Fitzgerald. “To me, it’s just absolutely the height of irresponsibility the way the feds are handling this.”
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said he hopes the federal debate can be settled so there will be no more cuts.
Jackson released the following statement on the cancellation: “The loss of the Cleveland National Air Show, an important Cleveland tradition, is an unfortunate consequence of the federal budget debate in Washington D.C. It represents just one of the many cuts to federal funding and programs that have an impact on the local level. It is our hope that the debate can be settled soon to prevent further cuts and minimize the long term impact sequestration can have on local communities.”
The Cleveland National Air show has been a northeast Ohio tradition since 1964.