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Air Fair ’09 May Not Take Off

July 31, 2008

By Crystal Garcia, The Tribune-Star, Terre Haute, Ind.

Jul. 31–Though wheels began turning this week for the 2009 Terre Haute Air Fair, the event still could be grounded.

Jet team applications for the fair are due to the Federal Aviation Administration in Indianapolis by Friday. Tom Long, director of Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field, said the paperwork was being completed and will be sent out.

“Every year you put that out just in case it happens,” he said. “You don’t want to be caught without it done.”

Just because the application is completed doesn’t mean the Air Fair, if it happens, would have a jet team. Jet teams announce their schedules in December.

The last couple of years the Air Fair took place, it wasn’t chosen to have a jet team, according to Darryl Huyett, acting president of the Terre Haute Airport Authority Board.

Long said he is working out the airport’s budget and isn’t sure there is any money for a fair, again this year.

With a “Victory Days” celebration possible at the airport next year, Long said he isn’t sure if there are enough sponsors or community support for two big events.

Victory Days is a World War II event scheduled for Oct. 3-5, 2009 at the airport. While there will be World War II planes and flights available, it is not an air show, but an event with automobiles, an encampment and even a World War II fashion show, among other things. This is the first year for the event, which is expected to cost the airport nothing.

As Huyett began getting more and more requests from the public and Air Fair committee members about the Air Fair’s fate, he said he put out an e-mail to committee members last week telling them they may want to start thinking about how to put a show together.

“If you can figure out how to do this without costing the airport money, let’s do this,” he said.

Having been almost $100,000 over-budget in 2007, a Terre Haute Air Fair Feasibility Committee was put together and recommended to the board to hold off on a 2008 fair and try again in 2009. The board accepted the committee’s recommendations and voted in that manner.

While there is concern over not enough support or sponsors for Victory Days and a 2009 Terre Haute Air Fair, Huyett said they won’t know unless they try.

“Let’s see,” he said.

For more information about Victory Days, visit www.victorydays.org. Anyone interested in supporting or sponsoring the Air Fair can call Long at (812) 877-2524.

Crystal Garcia can be reached at (812) 231-4271 or crystal.garcia@tribstar.com.

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