Uncertainty over MacDill AirFest 2013

Revised: March 1, 2013. I had an incorrect date for the event.

The weekend of April 6/7 is supposed to be the upcoming MacDill AirFest at MacDill Air Force Base in South Tampa. Usually, during the month of March, HART would unveil their plans for any route detours in the South Tampa area, and any shuttle services that would be provided. There is talk of a possible shuttle running from Brandon, which I think would be neat, but other than that, things have been rather quiet.

In years past, HART has been able to run a shuttle along Bayshore Blvd from downtown Tampa, a modified Local Route 4. However, funding issues and the Platt St Bridge construction/closure did not make the shuttle possible for the 2011 event. There was no AirFest in 2012 due to scheduling changes that, for the most part, now makes these air shows run every year and a half (until further notice).

Many of us have heard of the upcoming “Sequester” cuts and MacDill officials announced this past Monday that the 2013 AirFest could be cancelled if the cuts are allowed to take effect. This is mainly due to the impact that the cuts would have on the base, both with personnel and with financial planning. I also understand that the US Navy would pull back the Blue Angels, the headlining act at this year’s event, and would cancel their appearances at all air show events in the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2013 should the Sequester take effect. The cuts are slated to take effect March 1, although the brunt may not be felt for several weeks.

With Congress very unlikely to come to any consensus, it is very much possible that AirFest 2013 will be cancelled. As each day passes in March without Congressional action, the chances of cancellation will increase. In the meantime, I strongly advise everyone to please pay attention to local media outlets for the latest developments, as things may change.