Posts Tagged ‘Fort Lauderdale’

ATZ has learned that the official contact and Director of Air Operations for the August 28-29th Coney Island appearance of the USAF Thunderbird Air Show is Ted Plana, who holds the same job with Air Lauderdale Beach Fest. He is a 14-year veteran of the Fort Lauderdale, Fla. air show, which is set for April 24-25 after a two year hiatus. Will Coney Island’s new air show be anything like its Florida counterpart? And who is the secretive sponsor? One possibility is the AVP Beach Volleyball Tournament, which has previously explored the idea of bringing an air show to Coney Island. Neither Ted Plana nor AVP returned calls requesting comment.

Diamond formation. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds perform at air show at Barksdale AFB, La. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Denise A. Rayder

Diamond formation. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds perform at air show at Barksdale AFB, La. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Denise A. Rayder

We’re thrilled the Thunderbirds will be returning to Coney Island. It looks like Coney Island business owners will be getting their wish for a major event in August. As we reported yesterday in “USAF Thunderbirds Air Show Returns to Coney Island in August 2010,” the Dec. 8th release of the team’s 2010 schedule was the first time that many Coney Islanders in the know, including Dick Zigun of Coney Island USA, had heard of the show. Lynn Kelly of the CIDC told us they did not have any information on this event nor its sponsorship. “It is not a City event according to our colleagues,” says Kelly.

air lauderdaleThe Florida air show’s Facebook fan page describes the Lauderdale show as “One of the world’s largest spectator events from 1995 to 2007, this two-day celebration features top military and civilian performances along four miles of beautiful Fort Lauderdale beach. A showcase that draws millions each year.” You may want to go down to Fort Lauderdale for spring break and check it out.

According to Air Lauderdale’s Sherry Adams, the principals of the Fort Lauderdale show are not involved in the Coney Air Show. In fact they’re seeking sponsors for their show’s revival and Adams asked me to send some their way! ATZ liked what we saw on the Florida beach fest’s Facebook page, including their retro travel poster, so much that we became a fan.

An article in East Magazine with Air Lauderdale’s Stan Smith and Dan Barnett describes the components of the revival as “Keep the air show, add a beach festival with different acts each year, charge admission which creates a sustainable business model so the departure of one big sponsor won’t end the show as it did in 2007.” The sponsor that departed was McDonald’s, which spent $3 million on the event.

Like Coney Island, the Florida event is staged on a famous public beach. The gated admission area sounds similar to what the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tournament does when they bring their show to the Coney Island Beach. In fact, the AVP contacted Air Lauderdale last summer about putting on an air show during the volleyball tournament, says Adams. Since the sponsors are keeping quiet, we’re guessing the AVP might be the air show sponsor! But we won’t know for sure till they release their tour schedule for 2010. The AVP tour runs from March through September. In past seasons, the AVP has come to Coney Island sometime in July.

Today, the City of Fort Lauderdale Commission authorized charging $5 for advanced purchase of Air Lauderdale Beach Fest tickets for next April 24 and 25 along Fort Lauderdale Beach and a $10 entry fee the day of the show. Air Lauderdale’s Stan Smith told the Orlando Sentinel:

The air show is free as it occurs in the air. 75% of the beach is free where you can take your cooler and family. We are charging $5 for a beach festival that has a center show view of one of the greatest air shows on earth. Music, food, business exhibitors including a green village featuring new products are part of the experience. Plus extreme sports, kids zones and games and prizes. We think its more than a fair deal. We’re helping charities and celebrating Fleet Week’s 20th anniversary in our “Thank The Troops Zone.”

UPDATE August 10, 2010:

We’re sorry to report the Coney Island Air Show could not get all of the necessary permits–a complicated situation by all accounts– and persistent rumors that the air show would be cancelled or “postponed” have turned out to be true. The Thunderbirds finally removed “Brooklyn, NY” from their schedule. Air Force Week NYC will go on without a Coney Island Air Show. Instead they’re advertising the Aug 25 air show in Atlantic City!


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