PARKERSBURG - There will be no admission charge at the Oct. 13-14 Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport Air Show.
Updating Wood County commissioners Thursday, Donna Rusche, event co-chairman, said the committee has decided it would seek additional funding support and sponsorships to cover the expenses for the show, which has traditionally been free to attendees.
"We may have some shortfalls in our budget. We knew that, and we came up with a game plan to move forward with a non-admission. We will seek donations but try to find the funding as best we can," Rusche said.
Donna Rusche, co-chair for the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport Air Show, updated Wood County commissioners Thursday on the Oct. 13-14 event. (Photo by Pamela Brust)
"Most air shows have some admission and it's been a blessing that the air show here hasn't had to charge in the past. It does make it more difficult this close to the event, now that you are 30 days in, to announce that you would be charging admission," said commission President Blair Couch.
"We didn't believe, at this short notice, that charging admission would be successful, either for the air show or for the community," Rusche said.
Rusche noted the committee is facing a 40 percent increase in fuel costs from two years ago, and a drop in the availability of military units to book for the show.
"When the military came in, they purchased fuel from the airport, which was also revenue plus for them," Rusche said.
Couch noted there had been some discussions about using the West Virginia Air National Guard for the show.
"There have been discussions with them, but the military budgets have been cut, the rules have changed, approval of public displays is much harder to come by. In addition, the Guard doesn't do an air show. Our local Guard has some displays, but they are not trained for an air show. They can do a fly over, but that's about it," said Terry Moore, airport manager.
"They (the Air National Guard) don't have the training in order to get a release to do an air show act," Rusche said. "We have approached everyone. You have to understand most of these shows are near an air base. The military budget cuts have curtailed many of the air shows in the country."
Rusche said some of the civilian air acts cut their travel budget to be able to come to the local show. The show will also feature a Kids Zone this year with inflatables, a climbing wall and other aviation-oriented activities, Rusche said.
Rusche did not ask the county commission for additional funding during the meeting Thursday. The county already provided $10,000 to the air show; $5,000 from contingencies and $5,000 from the hotel/motel tax innovative grant fund. An additional $7,500 was then donated to the air show out of the county's year end budget funds. For the 2010 air show, the commission allocated a total of $25,000.
"You have had a really tough time this year. It sounds like it's been really difficult," Commissioner Wayne Dunn said.
Anyone interested in donating funds, becoming a sponsor or getting information on parking charges or shuttles and other visitor information can go online to the air show's website at www.movairshow.com.