FERG BLURBS -- Airshow Loses Money...And That's Fine

August 31, 2017

Word on the local streets is that the Northeast Pennsylvania Airshow, which made its triumphant return after a 17-year absence a few weeks ago, finally got their numbers back from their big weekend. According to multiple media reports, including The Citizens' Voice, the airshow saw 25,000 spectators make their way through the gates over the weekend, but lost $70,000 with the event. 

According to the Voice, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport officials were hoping for $200,000 from advertisers, but only got to about $150,000 in that department, while also spending unspecified amounts of money on materials needed to make the event work (Fences, etc). I'm sure, as the days go by, we'll get more clarity on exactly how much money was spent on those infrastructure-type things.

I'm probably in the minority on this, but I think that losing money, even at $70,000, is OKAY. This was never going to be a smashing, run-away, homerrun of a success right out of the gate for the airport, especially after a 17-year absence. No one in our area really knew what to expect with what the weekend would hold, and I gotta think that 25,000 people over two days is a solid number for the show to build on. The reports are littered with anecdotes about smiles of children, oohs and ahhs from the crowd and the amount of "fun" that the show brought to the area. Check out this video someone shot of highlights from the weekend:

Listen, no massive event that has become a staple of its time was ever a smashing success right out of the gate. Happening that very same weekend was Peach Festival on Montage Mountain, which, once upon a time, was struggling to get itself off the ground after its first couple go-rounds. The festival lost a ton of money in the first year, a little less the next, and quickly started to turn around as the years went on, until it became the juggernaut that it is today. Many other festivals and yearly events have followed that exact model, Struggling early before finding their groove. It can be done.

I think the important thing for the officials at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport is to look at what they thought could be improved upon from this year and to make the necessary adjustments. I think another important thing for the officials and organizers to do would be to LISTEN TO THE FANS. The people who attended the show can tell them exactly what it looked like on the ground, with traffic headaches and "expensive" food and drink in the venue. It's important for the organizers to improve what they can and stick with it. Monetary losses be damned, it'd be a shame to see the airshow fall to the wayside for another 17 years. Let's take this airshow to new heights!


-- Ferg