With no Blue Angels, NAS Jax cancels air show

Navy scrubs all Blue Angels performances due to budget cuts

Published On: Apr 15 2013 03:20:08 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 11 2013 11:01:32 PM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Two days after the U.S. Navy announced the Blue Angels would not do any more performances this year, NAS Jacksonville cancels its air show scheduled for October.

The Navy's elite flight demonstration team was cancelled due to the federal government's forced budget cuts.

The Defense Department has said that outreach events like the air show can only be supported with local military assets, meaning any out-of-town aircraft wouldn't be allowed to take part.

"This is a very tough decision because the people of Jacksonville love their Navy and we sincerely appreciate their support," said Capt. Bob Sanders, commanding officer of NAS Jacksonville. "Our air shows are a way to say thank you. But our decision came down to priorities which are operational readiness and supporting the warfighter."

For more than 60 years, the NAS Jacksonville air show has been an event that many people look forward to.

"Every year, my dad used to take me," said Polly Taylor.

The air show has touched generation after generation of Jacksonville's families, but now the sights and sounds at the air show will be silenced. Lunise Luc is a huge fan of the show and was disappointed to hear the news.

"I know I heard about it. It's a shame. I wanted my two boys to see it. My oldest is 3, he just loves things like that and I was waiting for this year to bring him. And now, it's not going to happen," said Luc.

In 2011, NAS Jax said they spent $450,000 on the event. Now the base will save that money. Some of the fans Channel 4 spoke with Thursday night understood.

"We all have to tighten up, you've tightened up just like I have, they have, too," said Bart Bartholomew.

Businesses near the Naval Base who look forward to a boost around the time of the air show every year, won't see that boost this year.

"It's a big draw, the roads are packed," said Tijuana Flats Manager, Ray Fraiser. "We enjoy seeing the crowd out here, a line to the door when it comes around but unfortunately not this year, but we hope they bring it back."