Air show needs donations to take flight - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Air show needs donations to take flight

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VIENNA TWP., Ohio - The Youngstown Air Reserve Station is among the 16 locations where the Air Force Thunderbirds are set to perform this year, but the show can't take off without thousands of dollars in private donations.

The Vienna base has not hosted an air show since 2009 and it will need to raise $200,000 for Thunderbirds to take flight.

"We're very fortunate to have them come here and they're looking forward to coming, they remember having a good time and a good reception from the Mahoning Valley when they were here in 2009," Col. James Dignan says, 910th Airlift Wing Commander.

The Base Community Council, which is responsible for fundraising efforts, is offering partnership packages to businesses and individuals. The council tells 21 News it's already seeing purchases roll in, but recognizes it still needs more. Click here for more information on partnership packages.

Individuals and businesses are encouraged to spend anywhere from $100 to $50,000 for VIP access. Top donors will have their own tents in addition to the special behind-scenes-passes. 

The Western Reserve Port Authority is pledging $25,000 toward the "Thunder Over the Valley Air Show". The community council has also requested grant dollars through the Trumbull County Tourism Bureau. 

The base must sponsor the Thunderbirds as an Air Force entity and Col. Dignan says covering those costs in addition to hosting, can add up quickly. 

"We have to pay for the fuel, we have to pay for everything to include rental cars and rooms for the people that come," he says.

The admission to the public is free. Spectators are invited to enjoy 10 to 20 different performing acts.

About 50,000 people are expected to take in the air show both May 17 and 18, and their presence could boast economic benefits.

"Whether they come here for a day or whether they come for a weekend, they're spending money," Stephanie Sferra says, executive director of the Trumbull County Tourism Bureau.
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