The City of Owensboro announced Tuesday that an air show would not be held in 2020, but a press release from the City revealed very few details as to why. According to Director of Public Events Tim Ross, City commissioners chose to hold off on the air show for a year as they brainstorm other events that would be enjoyed by local and regional residents.
“Every year, all programs we do get feedback from City commission,” Ross said. “We’ve had the air show for eight years without a gap. City commissioners decided as a group to try something different in 2020.”
The 2019 Owensboro Air Show brought 30,000 people to downtown Owensboro over a three-day period, though that number was less than half the number that normally attends the air show. At the time, Ross told Owensboro Times that hot temperatures and not having a major jet team perform were the likely reason for the lower turnout numbers.
The 2021 air show has already been scheduled to feature the Blue Angels, which means turnout numbers will probably increase for that weekend’s performance. But in the meantime, the City would like to take a step back from the air show and toss around some other ideas for downtown entertainment.
Ross said City commissioners aren’t planning to replace the summer air show with a different summer event in particular, but ideas for multiple events during different seasons are being discussed at this time, he said.
“The air show gets regional and national draw, and they wanted to keep it going [for those eight years],” Ross said. “Every year we debate ‘Is there something we need to do to keep it up?’ They decided to take a year off to reevaluate.”
Ross said the he and commissioners have not yet decided what events to hold during the 2020 year and said he couldn’t reveal details from any of the ideas yet. Those ideas will be made public by late January, he said.
“We need a month or so to square everything away. Whether we have one event or a series of events — we’ll decide between now and then.”
A+ Leadership — the consulting firm hired by the City to implement the City’s plan for downtown livability and growth — mentioned their idea to hold a big winter event in downtown Owensboro at some point. Ross said their idea was one of the options being discussed.
“We’ve got the Bar-B-Q Fest in the spring and a big event for the 4th of July, and those draw big crowds, but there are other times during the year where it might make sense to host events of that nature,” he said.