SAN DIEGO - Civic and business leaders Thursday urged San Diegans to attend the Miramar Air Show Oct. 4-5 to support the military, even though the crowd-pleasing Blue Angels will not be flying.
"By coming out to the air show, not only are you going to have a great time with family and friends, but you're also making a statement that you want the air show to continue, and I know that our friends in Washington, D.C., will hear that message loud and clear," interim Mayor Gloria said.
The 58th annual aerial extravaganza at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar took a body blow when the Defense Department announced the Navy's flight team wouldn't appear. Because of the automatic spending cuts known as "sequestration," military involvement at air shows has been curtailed nationwide.
San Diegans have been trying to compensate, because the air show generates an estimated $17 million in economic activity. Vendors and military support activities like wellness programs and childcare depend on the event for revenue.
Gloria called it "a tradition in our community, something we all look forward to every year."
Jerry Sanders, the former mayor who is now CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the event is an "amazing display of the talent and skill the women and men provide to our country every day."
Proceeds from the air show go to programs like that serve Marines and their families, like childcare, counseling and career transition, he said.
Kris Michell, the head of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, said that "sometimes you forget how great something is until someone says you may not have it anymore."
New this year will be nightly concerts, a 5K Runway Fun Run/Walk and family bike ride, and drag racing, Gloria said.
Some of the regular events, like the 2,500-foot-long "Wall of Fire" and demonstrations by the military air-ground task force are scheduled to take place at this year's event.
Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, whose district includes the air base, contributed $10,000 in office funds for traffic management for the show so that the Marines could spend their funds elsewhere, according to Gloria.