Could budget cuts ground Blue Angels Seafair show?

Print
Email
|

by ERIC WILKINSON / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on July 31, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 31 at 6:37 PM

They streak through the sky leaving fans on the street star struck – fans  like Duff McKAgan.

“Suddenly I’m 9!” he said.

You might know McKagan as the bass player in a little band called Guns & Roses, but he said Tuesday The Blues are the real rock stars.

“They’re mythological dudes!” he said.

Like many, McKagan grew up watching The Blue Angels in Seattle. Now he’s introducing his own kids to the tradition.

“For all of us in Seattle, you get to be a kid for a week,” he said.

The precision jet squadron has been part of Seafair since 1972, but with massive Pentagon cuts looming, the jets have their tails on the chopping block.

“I’d be sad,” said Blue Angels fan Lisa Heard, who came to watch them land at Boeing Field Tuesday. “I know all of Seattle and King County would be upset.”

That was the case in 1994 and 1995, when an FAA issue kept the Blue Angels from performing at Seafair. Flocks of people stayed home, resulting in losses of hundreds of thousands of dollars for the event.

“The Torchlight Parade, the family events, the community events and the Blue Angels are what make up the whole of Seafair,” said Seafair CEO Beth Knox.  “Taking out any one of those elements would be like ripping off a band aid. It would not be good.”

With deeps cuts coming to federal programs across the country, critics say spending $37 million a year on air shows is irresponsible. Congressman Norm Dicks, who represents the Navy town of Bremerton, believes The Blues will survive the budget axe, if for one reason alone. “Because they are one of the greatest recruiting tools the Navy has.”

As for fans like McKagan, he’d rather see the military “slash” somewhere else.

“I think the Pentagon could pull some money out of other parts of the world and put it back into the Blue Angels,” he said.

If the Blue Angels weren't part of Seafair would you still go? Take our Facebook poll here.

 

 

 


 
 

Print
Email
|