Attendance nosedives at annual AirFest event
JANESVILLE Attendance at the 10th annual Southern Wisconsin AirFest took a steep dive this year.
The three-day air show, held over the past weekend, had an attendance in the neighborhood of 14,000, Executive Director Tom Morgan said.
The final tally is not in because AirFest has not gotten figures from its ticket outlets, he said.
Attendance last year was in the 40,000 range, Morgan said. Morgan told the Gazette last year that attendance had been down slightly from 2009.
The weekend weather was near perfect for viewing this year's air show, but the show did not have a major draw, such as the Navy's Blue Angels or the Air Force's Thunderbirds.
AirFest also made late changes in its program when it moved its date from the end of July to September.
The show tried something different this year, offering a musical performance Saturday only by country singer Aaron Tippin.
Morgan attributed the drop to "a lot of competition" and the weak economy.
The turnout means AirFest will make a smaller-than-anticipated donation to the Wisconsin Aviation Academy, which encourages teens to work hard in school and offers them a chance to get pilot licenses.
The academy will probably have to do fundraising, Morgan said.
AirFest officials meet tonight to start planning for next year, and they fully intend to have a show, Morgan said. No date has been set.
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By ASSOCIATED PRESS 04/29/13