Jim Grier letter: Timing of main event hurt AirSho
In the July 5 Forum article about the Fargo AirSho, the organizers expressed disappointment that attendance was not higher. The low attendance was no surprise to me. Having the show on the Fourth when some folks were at the lakes might have been ...
In the July 5 Forum article about the Fargo AirSho, the organizers expressed disappointment that attendance was not higher. The low attendance was no surprise to me. Having the show on the Fourth when some folks were at the lakes might have been one factor, as they indicated.
However, I suspect that another, if not bigger, problem was the AirSho's own fault: poor timing of their main event.
It was not clear when the Canadian Snowbirds were scheduled to fly. In an earlier article in The Forum, they said it was tentatively scheduled for 2 p.m., the same time that some television news broadcasts gave the day before the event. On the Airsho Web page, they listed the Snowbirds at the end of the agenda. So many people probably figured that the Snowbirds would fly at or around 2 p.m. We did, and planned to come in the afternoon.
Our family is avid air show fans and we've attended nearly every show in the region for 30 years. When we first learned a couple weeks ago that the Snowbirds were coming, we were excited and highlighted it on the calendar. We had not seen the Snowbirds before, had heard a lot about them, and this was to be a special treat. With relatives coming from out of state this week, we planned to see the Snowbirds as the highlight of the week and of our July Fourth celebration. We scheduled our day around it, got everyone around, and drove in from the country, arriving well before 2 p.m., when we thought the Snowbirds performance was going to be. When we arrived and discovered that they had already flown around noon, we were, needless to say, rather disgruntled.
I would guess that many other people who were interested in seeing the Snowbirds were also caught off guard. Many were probably at restaurants or home having lunch at noon, heard the planes in the distance, and figured, "Why bother? They've already flown"; then changed their plans and did something else in the afternoon, rather than going out and attending the show. A change of schedule because of bad weather is something that people understand. Lack of scheduling and poor timing when the weather is good doesn't make sense.
If and when they have another show in the future, I recommend that they either better schedule the main event or, if unwilling to announce a schedule, at least better advertise that it could happen at any time so people could come earlier. We would have if we had known.