WEAU | Eau Claire, Wisconsin | News

Blue Angels performance in Eau Claire this fall uncertain


EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Hundreds of thousands of people nationwide come out each year to see and hear the roar of the Blue Angels.

But the opportunities the Blue bring go beyond twists and turns, what you don't necessarily see in plain sight.

"We provide much of the manpower that is used to put on the airshow," said Matt Hill, the Scout Executive and CEO of the Chippewa Valley Council.

He says the Boy Scouts put in sweat equity of sorts and the show in turn, lands a significant amount of revenue for their organization. Not to mention the experience the boys get from being up close to all the action.

"Our local scouts love this event," he added.

The main threat to the Blue Angels comes from federal budget cuts brought on by the sequester. Already the Blue Angels have cancelled all their shows for April with the remainder of the season uncertain.

But in the past couple weeks, there has been some thrust to keep the show flying forward.

"Now that there has been some changes in the budget situation, we are going back and looking at it to see if there would be sufficient resources available to see if we can keep some of those shows on the schedule," said Commander Kevin Stephens with Navy communications.

He says a big part of the Blue Angels is about the kids -- knowing there could be future flyers in the crowd.

The other question: the impact of 149 tower closures nationwide. The Blue Angels require air traffic control but do not provide it. Hill says that will not put the brakes on our show.

"We've held air shows before we've had the tower, and we have an air boss that controls the space around the airport while the show is going on, so that won't affect the air show," Hill added.

And so for now it's a waiting game. No bets on whether come September the sights and sound of the big blue will be back.


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