Four Years Late – Goodbye Springfield Air Rendezvous
Well, this is certainly disappointing. Back in 2007 I remember the Springfield Air Rendezvous (a local Air Show) got cancelled. I couldn’t recall the reasoning for this, but I thought it was just a one-time deal. Much to my disbelief, it was permanent. Springfield Air Rendezvous is dead. I have many fond memories of the air show as a child, and I was hoping to head out once again as an adult and enjoy the show, as well as take some hopefully neat photos, but it was not meant to be.
From what I have gathered, apparently when the National Guard 183rd Fighter Wing was moved out of Springfield to Fort Wayne, Indiana, they took the base’s ability to service fighter jets along with them. Being unable to host fighter jets at the base meant that Air Rendezvous would be with out a jet show. The jets that performed, and specifically the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds, were always a huge draw to the show, and the board that ran Springfield Air Rendezvous felt that with out a military jet show, Air Rendezvous would not be able to turn a profit. Note that they didn’t even attempt it. They could have at least tried it, but there were supposedly other factors in making the decision as well. It does seem though losing the jet show was the biggest and most harming factor.
It seems that Springfield lost a lot more than the 183rd’s fifteen F-16 jets when they moved out of town.
I’m a bit saddened to learn of all of this, even if I am four years late. Maybe some day Springfield can grow up in to a real city and have real attractions, but until then, like the Valco Cruise for Charity, The Bloomington Gold, and other events, The Air Rendezvous show will be missed by countless citizens across Central Illinois.
To the person that wrote Four Years Late-Springfield Air Rendezvous. In order to qualify myself, please allow me to introduce myself as Kim Curry, the Air Show Coordinator for the last 14 years of Springfield Air Rendezvous. Let me also say that yes, the loss of our F-16s was huge to the air show but more so was the loss of many businesses that sponsored (paid for) this outstanding event. In addition, Springfield Air Rendezvous did not lose the ability to host a jet team simply because of the loss of the F-16s but it would have made life a lot more difficult to host a jet team. By the way, we hosted many years of Springfield Air Rendezvous without a jet team and the crowds simply didn’t show up when either the Blue Angels nor the Thunderbirds were present. We made due though and did well when the jet teams were on hand. In fact, Springfield Air Rendezvous, in its 24 years of history gave over one million dollars to charity. Air Rendezvous continues through its past funding to host aviation scholarship programs at Linolnland Community College. I hope this clears up some of your misconceptions of what ever happened to Springfield Air Rendezvous. It’s mostly about the difficult economy as we sought nor used any government funding. It was all private and corporate donations that funded this very expensive event throughout the years. BTW, we (meaning me and the hard working board of directors) all miss the air show terribly!