Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

MacDill's AirFest to return in 2014

TAMPA — MacDill Air Force Base's popular AirFest will be back next year after a one-year hiatus, base officials announced Wednesday.

The event is scheduled for March 22 and 23 and will feature the Air Force Thunderbirds flight demonstration team.

The free on-base event, which always draws large crowds, was canceled last year in the face of federal budget cuts. Both the Thunderbirds and the Navy Blue Angels flying groups were grounded.

On the AirFest's Facebook page, event organizers said the U.S. Department of Defense is now allowing the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds to resume their flying and performance schedule for 2014.

Planners say the Air Force spent the past month evaluating whether it could support air shows across the country. This year's performance will be a little different because of "fiscal realities," Maj. Matt Parker, AirFest director, said in a news release.

The event will include more civilian aerial demonstrations and airplanes, including cargo, fighter and specialty aircraft, that will be displayed on the ground.

"We believe we are creating a template for future military air shows that is fiscally responsible and sustainable," Parker said in the statement.

Gregory Celestan, outgoing chairman of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and chairman of Celestar, a defense contractor, said the event gives thousands of people an opportunity to see MacDill.

"For some people, this is the only chance that they get to see the equipment face-to-face," he said.

AirFest also benefits the restaurants and other businesses surrounding the base, Celestan said. When it was canceled last year, he said, it was disappointing to many — including MacDill's staff.

"They enjoy it, too," Celestan said. "It's an opportunity to show what they do."

The event also is getting a new name — the MacDill AFB presents Tampa Bay AirFest. Organizers said it better reflects the event's regional draw.

Times staff writer Jimmy Geurts contributed to this report.

MacDill's AirFest to return in 2014 12/11/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 10:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Have your say Tampa Bay on the region's future transit options

    Mass Transit

    TAMPA — It's time, yet again, for Tampa Bay residents to tell officials what kind of transit options they want for their region.

    The Cross-Bay Ferry docks at the Tampa Convention Center on its maiden voyage on Nov. 1, 2016. A regional premium transit study will determine whether a ferry, or other options such as express buses or light rail, would be a good addition to Tampa Bay. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Times]
  2. Today, a total eclipse of the sun will span the entire United States, crossing from the West Coast to the East Coast, for the first time in 99 years. (Dreamstime/TNS)
  3. What is poke? Here's how to make the Hawaiian dish at home


    In Hawaiian, "poke" simply means "to cut."

    Tuna Poke Bowl: For a classic poke bowl, try this recipe with ahi (yellowfin) and only a few other ingredients.
  4. MOSI, SPC, libraries offer safe solar eclipse viewing Monday


    If you couldn't score some of the hard-to-find eyewear that will let you watch Monday's solar eclipse, have no fear, there are safe viewing choices across the Tampa Bay area.

    Twin Falls High School science teachers Ashley Moretti, left, and Candace Wright, right, use their eclipse shades to look at the sun as they pose for a portrait at Twin Falls High School in Twin Falls, Idaho. The district bought 11,000 pairs of solar glasses, enough for every student and staff member to view the solar eclipse Aug. 21

(Pat Sutphin/The Times-News via AP)
  5. SOCom seeks civilian drone pilots to develop new technology through ThunderDrone


    TAMPA — For the last three years, Nicole Abbett has been using drones as part of her photography business, with clients like the city of Tampa and construction companies.

    Josh Newby, 31, Palm Harbor, of Tampa Drones fly's a drone in England Brothers park, Pinellas Park, 8/25/16. As drone popularity increases as a hobby and business, local governments are navigating a legal grey area- where, when, and how should drone flights be allowed?