HAMMOND | As the deadline for possible sequestration nears so does the impending fate of the 14th annual South Shore Air Show.
The South Shore Air Show is currently scheduled to be held on July 12, 13 and 14 on the beaches of the newly renovated Marquette Park in the Miller section of Gary. The event will kick off with the Friday Twilight Show at the beach, and will conclude with a fireworks show. The air show will continue Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
Headlining acts for the 2013 South Shore Air Show include the F-22 Raptor, the MV-22 Osprey and the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team. Neither the Raptor nor the Osprey has flown at the South Shore show. Under sequestration, US military jet teams are grounded until further notice, and additional military support for air shows will be suspended as well.
The decision on whether to host the 2013 South Shore Air Show will be made sooner verses later; currently the show’s organizing committee is currently contemplating the numerous factors affected by sequestration.
“It’s not just about the military acts, although they are a huge part of our show. For many reasons, we cannot wait until late March or April to make a decision if the show will be a ‘go’ or not,” President and CEO of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority Speros Batistatos said. “Food vendors, merchandisers and sponsors are not going to wait around until the 11th hour for us to make a decision on the status of the show. These business professionals are going to maximize their resources with other events, those not impacted by Federal budgeting constraints.”
Batistatos stated that several other air shows throughout the nation also have already “pulled the trigger” and cancelled their events for this year, citing sequestration as the reason.
To date these shows scheduled to take place between March and May have been cancelled, Virginia’s Langley Air Force Base, Arizona’s Luke Air Force Base and North Carolina’s Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. On Tuesday, the Indianapolis Air Show, an event sustained by private sponsorships, also announced its cancellation; this show was slated to take place June 15 and 16.
Regardless of the fate of this years show, Batistatos said, “If the situation arises and we have to cancel the 14th Annual Air Show, we will continue to work with community leaders on other ‘hallmark events’ such as Whiting’s Pierogi Fest, Hammond’s Festival of the Lakes and the Lake County Fair to bring visitors to the South Shore this summer.”