Last month’s Lehigh Valley Air Show drew 42,000 patrons and made about $35,000 for the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority.
“It was a big success,” said authority vice chairman Marc Troutman, who chaired the committee that organized the show. “The idea wasn’t really to make money, but to not lose money and to be involved in the community.”
Troutman estimated the 42,000 patrons “doesn’t include the 20,000 that watched from outside the gates. Maybe we can get them in the gates next time.”
Blessed with two days of beautiful weather, the show was held Aug. 24 and 25 at Lehigh Valley International Airport.
On Tuesday afternoon, at the authority’s first public meeting since the air show,
Authority chairman Tony Iannelli called it “an aeronautical Woodstock” that the community really enjoyed.
Troutman assumes another air show in the authority’s future, adding “we just need to decide when that’s going to be.” Iannelli mentioned it might be held every year or every other year.
Thanking authority board members, staffers and volunteers responsible for the air show, Iannelli acknowledged “a lot of us weren’t totally sure in the beginning.” He said they were concerned it might look frivolous at a time when the airport is facing major financial issues.
In 1997, the last time an air show was held at the airport, it was a major loss, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, said Iannelli.
Iannelli said last month’s air show was his first.
“Everybody I’ve spoken to – and I’ve spoken to a lot of people -- had a ball, particularly families that brought young children,” said board member William Berger. “They just thought it was wonderful.”
Atty. Robert Brown Jr. told the authority it pulled off a wonderful feat, because air shows all over the United States were cancelled this year because of federal sequestration. “You couldn’t get the Thunderbirds, you couldn’t get the Blue Angels, and you couldn’t get the big military hardware that attracts people.” Brown said future air shows will be even more successful when military aircraft can participate.
Resident Erik Chuss told the board that “minor” problems experienced by spectators at the air show were not rookie mistakes, but typical of problems faced by air shows that have been operating for years.