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Fate of 2014 air show in doubt

The future of the 2014 Oregon International Air Show is uncertain following the unexpected cancellation of all Canadian Forces Snowbirds Jet Team shows in the United States in 2014 because of budget cuts.

The Snowbirds had been announced as the headlining act for this year’s show, which has been scheduled for Sept. 19-21.

According to Judy Willey, president of the air show, the board of directors began discussing whether to proceed with the show since the announcement was made several days ago. The 17-member board planned a retreat for this week, during which the situation will be discussed. A decision could be made shortly after that, Willey said.

“We are disappointed that the Snowbirds are unable to come to Oregon this year,” said Willey. “We want to put on a world-class event for our great air show fans, but right now we just need to regroup and discuss the possibilities of building a show this year that is highly entertaining, family-friendly, profitable and safe.”

Factors to be considered by the board members include the likelihood of finding a replacement headline act that will attract large enough crowds to pay for the overhead of the show while generating additional money for charities.

Willey insists that even if the air show cancels this year, it would be held again in 2105.

“The air show is not going away, no matter what happens this year,” said Willey.

Willey noted that a military stunt team always boosts attendance, and the board is currently exploring several options. The U.S. Navy Blue Angles and U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds teams are already fully booked this year, although cancellations are not uncommon. Any cancellation would have to coincide with good flying weather at the Hillsboro Airport, however, where the show is always staged.

The show traditionally attracts between 58,000 and 90,000, depending on the draw of the headlining act. Last year, Hillsboro’s air show was scheduled for the same weekend as the Washington County Fair, to accommodate the Blue Angels. The Navy jet team later were forced to cancel their Hillsboro appearance because of federal budget cuts, but by then it was too late for organziers to alter the air show’s schedule.

All profits from the Oregon International Air Show benefit local charities and non-profit organizations. Since 1988, more than 475 local organizations have received more than $1.3 million in donations from the air show.



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