Greenwood Aviation Air Expo taking hiatus in 2018 | News

The Greenwood Aviation Air Expo is taking a yearlong hiatus to give organizers an opportunity to pursue other interests.

The popular exhibition – a sanctioned Festival of Flowers event – is slated to return in 2019, its chairman, Bo Bowman, said in an email to organizers and participants. He also said officials plan to take every other year off moving forward.

“Most of the work that needs to be done well ahead of time over the preceding year to prepare for the expo is done by a handful of people. It is not easy, but we eventually get enough volunteers for the work that needs to be done,” he said. “However, those that do put in a lot of time in the long-term preparation, a few of which still work full-time jobs, would like a break next year.”

The news came as a surprise to many involved with the Festival of Flowers, but losing the air show for a year isn’t expected to have a significant impact, said Angelle Laborde, CEO of the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce.

“Although we’re certainly disappointed, we understand their reasoning,” she said. “It was a reason to get people to Greenwood, so in the big scheme of things, it hurts a little bit.”

Bowman said preparing for the exhibition is a year-round task that includes negotiating with performers, finding demonstration aircraft to bring in and synchronizing schedules.

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“We don’t get a lot of help every year. If anything, we lose a little and bust our tails. We’ve got a thing going here and I don’t want to lose that momentum, so I’m hoping we use this time in between to do some good things and work on getting more sponsors,” he said.

Since its inception, Greenwood’s daylong air show has become a premier event in the Southeast, attracting accomplished pilots such as Patty Wagstaff, a three-time U.S. National Aerobatic Champion who has performed the past two years.

“I’ve got about 11 or 12 responses from performers, not just full of compliments, but understanding. We’ve made a good impression on them, so I don’t think we’ll have any trouble getting them to come back,” Bowman said.

Contact staff writer Adam Benson at 864-943-5650 or on Twitter @ABensonIJ.

Contact staff writer Adam Benson at 864-943-5650 or on Twitter @ABensonIJ.

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