A summertime fixture in Indianapolis will not happen this year. Organizers of the Indy Air Show canceled this year’s program and they are blaming people nearly 600 miles away.
Sixteen years and not counting in Greenfield. This year’s show is not happening because of possible federal budget cuts. There is optimism that the show will be back next year, but many worry it could be grounded for good.
It is a show that is truly one of a kind, complete with fly-byes and barrel-rolls. Some just cannot contain themselves. But the Indy Air Show is more than big metal military birds to Beth Vahle.
“It makes it very emotional,” said Vahle.
Two of Vahle’s children have spent significant time at Riley Hospital for Children. The money raised by the show every year is given to Riley.
“It brings it home, Vahle. “It brings it home when you know you have been to Riley and they have touched your lives.”
A series of automatic federal cuts, called the sequester, are set to take effect March 1, if Congress can’t reach a compromise on how to cut the nation’s deficit. The cuts aim to slice the budget by $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years.
They’ll Indiana’s military hard. About 11,000 Department of Defense employees will be furloughed. The pay cuts add up to more than $64 million. The sequester would also ground the legendary Blue Angles. Those possible cuts were just too much so the plug was pulled on this year’s show.
“The dollars just did not work out, for us to be a prudent use of funds,” said Bob Duncan, chairman of the show’s executive committee. “It resulted in the observation in that the financial risk was just too great.”
Organizers hope the cuts only mean a holding pattern. They hope the show will take flight again next year.
“To come back stronger and better with 2014 and really show the community how much we appreciate them, and how much they mean to us by putting on a first-class show,” said organizer Marylen Wallace.
Volunteers said the show will be revamped. They hope to not make it so dependent on military planes like The Blue Angels. At the same time, organizers do not want to take away from the show’s overall excitement. Only time will tell whether the Indy Air Show is strong enough to return.