Gary South Shore Airshow Announces Surprise Cancellation for 2014

Fair Oaks Farms and the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority announced the cancellation of the 2014 South Shore Airshow today, stating that the area has received too much rain recently and that the land would not be acceptable to host the estimated 50,000-60,000 people that were expected to attend. The CEO of Fair Oaks Farms, Gary Corbett, said that the farm has received 10 inches of rain in the last 30 days and that more is expected in the near future. The timing of this announcement is very interesting given that the show, scheduled for the weekend of July 11-12, is still more than two weeks away.

The show was already the subject of much controversy earlier this year when it moved from its typical location on the shores of Lake Michigan near Gary, IN to Fair Oaks Farms, a rural farming tourist attraction nearly an hour to the south of the lake shore and city. Much of the controversy centered around the inconvenience of getting people to the show far from population centers, and the spending of Gary-area tax dollars to fund tourism in a county so far away.

Then, as we reported two weeks ago, the show canceled one of its headline acts in the Sea Harrier, under the extremely shaky grounds that two somewhat recent but unrelated USMC Harrier crashes might bring unwanted attention to a related aircraft performing at the show. At the time this generated a lot of discussion as to whether it was simply a budget cutting move by the show.

All of these factors beg the question of whether the rain is the true reason for the cancellation. However, one must give credit to the show for announcing it with some advance notice so that fans were not caught completely by surprise. The USAF Thunderbirds had been scheduled to appear at the show but will presumably now take an off weekend at their home base in Las Vegas. No announcement has been made regarding future plans for the show, but given the controversy and the very questionable excuses being given, one has to wonder whether the organization will hold together for another attempt.

You can read the full cancellation press release on the South Shore Airshow website.

– Ryan Sundheimer

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