Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Melbourne, Florida, to consider helping air and space show

Last year the Melbourne City Council kicked in about $10,000 of services to the Melbourne Air & Space Show, and Thursday night the council will consider doling out more for this year's event.
Organizers of the Melbourne Air & Space Show say they will ask the namesake city to chip in about $20,000, twice the amount they received last year, for the October airshow.

When the show debuted in Melbourne last year, the city helped cover costs of services like police and traffic routing. Similar services for this year's two-day event, as well as additional operation and security expenses incurred because the show is being held at Melbourne International Airport, could cost about $80,000, according to city documents.

The airshow is on the hook to cover those costs, unless the council agrees to help. The council can contribute more, or less, than organizer Bryan Lilley plans to ask for at a meeting Thursday night.

"We're going to inquire about that once again this year, and see what the council's appetite is to support us again," said Lilley, chairman of the National Air, Sea & Space Foundation, the organizer of the show. He may approach the Melbourne Airport Authority with a similar request.

Other events that receive this kind of municipal money are the Melbourne Art Festival, which receives $3,100, and the light parade, which gets $7,000, according to city records.

A lack of such municipal aid, among other factors, drove the somewhat nomadic airshow from Cocoa Beach two years ago. Melbourne grabbed the event last year and it was held at Paradise Beach in the city's beachside enclave.

This year the show returns to a two-day run and features the comeback of military aircraft, which pulled out of shows during a government sequester. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will roar over the Oct. 4 and 5 airshow, which is sponsored by Northrop Grumman.

The airport venue has added dynamics unlike other years. Commercial flights will briefly interrupt aviation acts, and there must be extra crowd control because of security restrictions on airport property.

Lilley said benefits to the airport, and Melbourne, outweigh any hurdles.

"Now, with (the show) at the airport it becomes a vehicle for economic development," Lilley said, adding that more than half of tickets sold so far were purchased by people outside Brevard County. "Just this year we've got ... all brand new sponsors that are supporting us because the aerospace industry is booming in Melbourne. There is no better way to showcase aerospace in your community."


General admission tickets are $10 per day (for children ages 6-12) and $15 per day (for those age 13 and up) if purchased in advance at airandspaceshow.com. The cost per ticket increases by $5 if purchased at the gate. Parking is $10 per vehicle.

If you go

The Melbourne City Council will consider a request to help fund the Melbourne Air & Space Show at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 900 E. Strawbridge Ave.

-Source:  http://www.floridatoday.com

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