Organizers calling off Evansville air show that was to include Navy's Blue Angels stunt team

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EVANSVILLE, Indiana — The Navy's Blue Angels stunt team won't be flying over Evansville next summer, after festival organizers have decided they can't afford to keep putting on an air show.

Hadi Shriners spokesman Dale Thomas said the group has seen a decline in corporate sponsorships and faced rising costs for its annual Evansville Freedom Festival.

"We know the impact is hard and the disappointment it will cause, but we can't see how it can be paid for," he told the Evansville Courier & Press (http://bit.ly/1wfvUcz ).

Basic costs of the festival total about $150,000, Thomas said. Organizing an air show that would include the Blue Angels would add some $170,000 in expenses.

He said this year's festival made a small profit with great weather, while previous years have had days washed out by storms.

The Blue Angels were scheduled to return for the 2015 festival after performing in the city in 2001, 2002 and 2005. The Shriners plan to still put on a street festival next June at Evansville's downtown plaza along the Ohio River.

Thomas said the group can't risk losing money on the festival and talked with the mayor's office, the Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville and the Evansville Convention & Visitors Bureau for help finding funding sources.

"Maybe there's a white knight out there that we're not aware of that's willing to step up and say, 'We're willing to bring this to Evansville,'" Thomas said.


Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, http://www.courierpress.com

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