The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds flying team canceled its schedule from April 1 forward, including the Fort Lauderdale show, because of federal budget cuts.
Yes, sequester has hit home in another way.
But air show producer Bryan Lilley and Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler said they hope the Thunderbirds make it, after all. If not, Lilley said, the show will go on without them.
The show is scheduled for April 20-21.
No one from the Thunderbirds has called Lilley, and he said the team continues to train.
Last night, MacDill AirFest (I typed "MacKill" the first time, total accident), announced its cancellation. That show at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa was a victim of the sequester. Here's what was announced on the MacDill AirFest Facebook page:
It is with deepest regrets that I inform you that MacDill AirFest 2013 is officially canceled. We know how popular AirFest is every year consider we bring in about 150,000 fans.
What I want you to know is that the base commander, Col Scott DeThomas did everything he possibly could to keep AirFest alive. He was quoted today as saying "We explored all options to make AirFest hap...pen, but unfortunately we were over come by circumstances."
He also wanted to pass along his thanks to the entire Tampa Bay community for your unwavering support of MacDill, not just during AirFest but day in and day out. We know how lucky we are to call Tampa Bay home.
I will be monitoring FB all weekend, but if you have questions please contact me at my email address at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at work on Monday, 813 828-2215
MacDill Public Affairs
By the reaction, you can see how much people love their air shows.
One person wrote:
Lilley theorized that if sequester holds and the military-sponsored shows cancel -- like MacDill -- the waterfront civilian shows like his will benefit.
"We think it could be a net positive when it comes to a tourism component because there’ll be a whole lot less air shows you can go to,'' he said.
He said he has other performers for the Lauderdale Air Show, including a surprise he has yet to announce, that he said is "interesting.''
"We like to call what we do flying fireworks,'' he said. " ... It is a reason to go for a weekend at the beach.''
Here's what Mayor Seiler had to say, via email: "We are still hopeful that they will participate once the sequester negotiations are complete.''
The Thunderbirds are still going to perform in Florida in March. Here is their announcement:
The implementation of across-the-board cuts in federal spending has caused the curtailment of the Thunderbirds 2013 show schedule. Effective April 1, all of the team’s performances have been cancelled. The team still plans to perform at the Titusville, Fla., air show March 23-24.