Losing Angels Is Big, But Air Show Must Go On

For OC Air Show fans, the huge sense of disappointment over the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels being grounded and out of the resort’s June event is understandable. However, that doesn’t mean visitors need to scrap their plans and drop their hotel reservations for the weekend as a result.

When it was confirmed the Blue Angels were done for the year this week, as had been expected for months following the federal government stalemate and subsequent cuts, the immediate online reaction to an article we posted Tuesday was highly negative.

Along with sharp and appropriate jabs at the president and Congress and the ridiculous reality that is sequestration, there were about a dozen posts saying hotel bookings were being cancelled as a result and vacation plans altered to other areas. That’s a shame and we hope not the majority opinion.

Clearly, the lack of a military jet team like the Blue Angels is a devastating blow for attendees to the Air Show. No matter who is brought into replace the Angels, it’s not going to be possible to reach the level of excitement “the blues” generate. That team is simply at another level in the aviation world and no civilian act is going to be able to meet those expectations.

While that’s a fact, once the decision was made official, it was natural for the OC Air Show folks to put some positive spin on it. Promoter Bryan Lilley even said “sequestration could turn out to be a positive for Ocean City.” He added, “We’re going to have an all-civilian all-star lineup. We know who the headliners are going to be, we’re just not at a point where we’re ready to announce that. We will have jet planes, and all I can say is, they will have afterburners.”

While it’s certainly untrue that sequestration has or will have any positive impact on Ocean City, Lilley and his team are right to turn this unfortunate situation into a positive and use it as an opportunity to show Air Show attendees what else is out there in the world of aviation. Lilley is also right to point out most of the top air shows in the mid-Atlantic area have been cancelled as a result of the federal shutdown of military teams like the Angels and Thunderbirds. Additionally, it’s worth remembering all other air shows that are still taking place will be on the same level playing field. No other air show is going to get a military act.

We all need to give the Air Show a chance this summer and keep the same high expectations we would have had if the Blue Angels were coming. The pressure is on the Air Show to replace them with impressive acts that will satisfy attendees and sponsors. The good news is all indications are that is exactly what the event plans to do in the coming weeks.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.