Rockford AirFest Canceled Because of Budget Cuts

Sequestration led the Defense Department to halt all aerial demonstrations starting in April

View Comments ()




    Federal budget cuts have forced the cancelation of plans to hold the Rockford AirFest airshow on Labor Day weekend.

    The across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration led the Defense Department to halt all aerial demonstrations starting in April. That includes flyovers, jump team demonstrations and participation in civilian air shows.

    The Chicago Rockford International Airport looked into the possibility of putting on a Labor Day weekend show without military support. But it announced Thursday that it had concluded that could not be done without sacrificing the standard that the audience has come to expect.

    Airport Director Mike Dunn says he's hopeful the government can come to a resolution on the budget that will allow the show to be held next year.

    Those who already purchased tickets will get a refund.

    In Chicago, the Thunderbirds bowed out of the annual Air & Water Show because of the sequestration battle that pulled billions from the federal budget.

    "Due to the impact of sequestration, all participation in air shows and flyovers after April 1 have been canceled," said Maj. Darrick Lee, spokesman for the Air Force Thunderbirds. "We’re still hoping to be flying again in the future, and we’re going to be ready when that time comes. But it’s just looking like that’s not going to happen in the 2013 season."