Gary Jet Center, Lake County CVB, and the City of Gary
Announce the Return of the Annual Air Show
Gary – It was announced today, at a scheduled press conference at the Gary Jet Center, that the 8th Annual Gary Air Show will now be coordinated by the Gary Jet Center and the Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau, with support from the City of Gary. Mayor Rudy Clay from the City of Gary was also joined by Wil Davis with the Gary Jet Center and Speros A. Batistatos with the Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau to make the announcement.
The City of Gary will continue to provide public safety and emergency services, EMT personnel, park staff and sanitation for next year’s event. The Gary Jet Center will, as it has for the past 7 years, handle the coordination of the air talent. This requires thousands of work hours before and during the event. The LCCVB will bring its prominent marketing/promotion and event services to next year’s Air Show. Clay underscored “This will free up the City of Gary’s staff and limited financial resources to the greater needs of the residents.”
It was stated that Mayor Clay will continue to support destination events such as the annual Gary Air Show in order to continue with the revitalization, promotion, image and reinvestment in the City of Gary. He was emphatic about the need for fiscal restraint, reducing the size of the “non-essential” portions of the City budget and focusing in the short term, on the basic needs of the residents of Gary. “We cannot continue to raise taxes. We must spend the limited funds available on cleaning up our city and making it more attractive and safe to new investment. That is how we are going to create jobs and opportunities for our residents,” he commented.
Mayor Clay recognized Wil Davis for his hard-work and dedication to the past 7 years of successful air shows in the City. “Wil Davis has almost single-handedly created the 4th largest over-water air spectacle in the nation. He has done so without a glitch, and all the while steadily creating more exposure for the airport and positively affecting the image of the City. His securing the US Air Force Thunderbirds as headliners this past year was a great moment in our city’s history. These are moments we need to continue and our agreement here, today, does exactly that.”
Davis stated, “Given the expansion of my business [the Gary Jet Center], and the pressures of the previous years, I shared with the Mayor that ‘The Jet Center could not proceed without a dedicated partner.’ The only partner I considered was Spero and the Lake County CVB; they are a promotional powerhouse organization.” Davis and Mayor Clay were extremely excited to directly involve the Lake County CVB so that the private sector could team up to ‘do what professionals do.’
Davis also stated, “We couldn’t think of a better partner than the LCCVB to handle the management of the 8th Annual Gary Air Show. The Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau’s name is synonymous with first-class promotions, successful special-event planning and hospitality. I am confident they will help bring the Air Show to new heights.”
Speros A. Batistatos, a native of Gary, was humbled that the Mayor and Davis had such faith in the LCCVB, “The Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau looks forward to bringing visitors to Gary, to experience first-hand the beauty of our city’s lakeshore and all Northwest Indiana has to offer.” Both Batistatos and Davis, as residents of Gary, agreed that Mayor Clay was doing the right thing for the residents of Gary; agreeing that the City’s limited funds should be invested back into Gary.
The LCCVB plans to create pre and post celebrations in conjunction with the annual Air Show. Some ideas Batistatos proposed were; street fests near the Air Show, focused programming at Paul H. Douglas Environmental Center, and model airplane competition/races.
Davis stated that these ideas and aggressive promotion are exactly why his support of this new partnership is logical. “By presenting visitors with expanded activities, we can have a greater financial impact on the city and the thousands of employees that earn their living in the hospitality industry.”
The Mayor, Batistatos and Davis expressed the commitment to creating a destination for American families and are dedicated to showing them what Northwest Indiana’s South Shore has to offer.