RFD Announces Cancellation of AirFest

ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Rockford’s airfest has been completely cancelled.

Originally it was moved from the first weekend in June to Labor Day weekend when the Blue Angels had to cancel their appearance due to federal budget cuts.

The sequester is to blame again. No military planes are allowed to take part in any airshows and AirFest organizers realized they couldn’t put on much of a show without them. Well have much more on this developing story tonight on the 23 News at 6 and 10.

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Below is a press release from the Rockford Airport Concerning AirFest:

The Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) announced today that plans for a re-scheduled Labor Day Weekend Rockford AirFest have not developed and therefore the event is being cancelled. The cancellation is primarily due to the impact of the Federal Government Sequestration budget cuts on Department of Defense and corresponding support of air shows.

In March, the Undersecretary of Defense issued a memorandum stating: All aerial demonstrations, including flyovers, jump team demonstrations, and participation in civilian air shows and military open houses will cease as of April 1, 2013.

“After our initial reschedule, the board and staff evaluated the possibility of putting on a show over Labor Day weekend and the decision was made that without the military support, a show could not be put on to the standard that our audience expected,” said Mike Dunn, Executive Director at RFD.

“The board and staff at the airport would like to thank the community, volunteers, sponsors, and vendors for their continued support in this unfortunate situation. We are hopeful that the government can come to a resolution that will allow us to once again highlight the United States Military’s finest at our airshow in 2014,” said Dunn

For individuals seeking ticket refunds, RFD released the following information:

• Tickets purchased through the Airport or Culver’s will be reimbursed with cash at the Greater Rockford Airport Authority (GRAA) Administration Office (60 Airport Drive). All tickets must be presented for refund by October 1, 2013 to receive reimbursement.

o Tickets purchased at Culver’s, the Airport Main Terminal, or GRAA Administration Office can be returned for refund to the RFD Main Terminal at a special time Friday, June 14, 2013 from 5p.m. – 8 p.m. After Friday, tickets can be refunded at the GRAA Administration Office Monday – Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. For questions, please call 815-969-4000.

• Tickets purchased through BMO Harris Bank outlets will be refunded at the point of purchase.
• All tickets purchased through Ticketmaster online should have been refunded via chargeback to the credit or debit card used in the original transaction. Please contact Ticketmaster at 800-653-8000 for any questions about transactions made with Ticketmaster online or via phone.

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The Rockford AirFest has been postponed until Labor Day Weekend. Below is a release from the Chicago Rockford International Airport on the postponement:

Rockford, IL – The Chicago Rockford International Airport announced today that Rockford AirFest, scheduled for June 1-2, 2013, will be postponed. The show’s headlining U.S. Navy Blue Angels recently updated air show partners that the team is ceasing demonstration practice until further notice. Due to this news, the decision was made to hold off and reschedule the show for a later date. Airport officials will re-evaluate other options and are planning to move the show to Labor Day weekend and focus on securing displays and performances of warbird and civilian aircraft.

“The situation with the Blue Angels and other military participation is out of our control and are a result of decisions made in Washington, D.C. While we are disappointed to have to postpone AirFest, we are optimistic that we’ll put on a quality airshow later this year,” said RFD Director Mike Dunn.

For safety reasons, the Blue Angels are required to meet a certain amount of demonstration practice hours prior to performing at any airshow. The team’s cancelled practices have put their appearance at the June 1 – 2 show in question. In addition to the ceased practices, the Blue Angels also announced another performance cancellation at the Vidalia Onion Festival Air Show in April.

“Being within 60 days of the show without a definite commitment from the headliner makes it challenging to attract and retain sponsors, give commitments to vendors and plan a quality show that AirFest attendees expect year in and year out,” said Dunn.

For the Labor Day show, AirFest officials are planning to reach out to the aviation community for unique civilian displays and flight demonstrations.

“This redesigned show will give us an opportunity to recognize and honor the strong history and presence that Rockford has contributed to the aviation and aerospace industry,” said Dunn. “Planning has just begun and we hope to have more definite answers as we regroup and take a look at our options for the Labor Day show.”

Options for for Patrons Who Already Purchased Tickets

1. Keep your tickets for admission to AirFest and they will be honored at the Labor Day Weekend show.

2. Return your tickets for a full refund.

a. Tickets purchased at Culver’s, Airport Café, or Airport Administration office can be returned for a refund to the RFD Main Terminal from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. April 5 – 7 only and at the RFD administration office, 60 Airport Drive between 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday after April 7. For questions, please call 815-969-4000.

3. Anyone who purchased tickets by phone or internet through Ticketmaster will be contacted by Ticketmaster via email for refund options.

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