2021 MCAS Beaufort Air Show canceled

4 mins read
A cavernous C-5 Galaxy cargo plane from the U.S. Air Force attracted thousand of visiters.

Exhibition usually draws close to 100,000 spectators

By Mike McCombs

Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort announced Friday in a news release that the 2021 Air Show, scheduled for April 24 and 25, has been canceled.

The show was canceled for the second time since 2013 in order to protect the health of service members, their families and the members of the community, according to the release.

“The MCAS Beaufort Air show is a cherished event that allows the Air Station the opportunity to say thank you to our neighbors who support the men and women serving this nation. It is a difficult decision for me to cancel such a monumental event, but given the current COVID-19 environment it must be done,” MCAS Beaufort Commanding Officer Col. Karl Arbogast said in the release.

Any tickets purchased for premium seating will be refunded.

Just three weeks ago, The Island News reported that despite increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in Beaufort County and across the country, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort planned to go ahead with the air show.

“MCAS Beaufort leadership takes COVID-19 seriously, and (will) meticulously implement CDC recommended guidelines and local medical experts’ recommendations to combat this virus,” read an email from Kimberly Fleming, Deputy Director, Operations, Plans, and External Affairs.

“Throughout this pandemic, we have remained operational to complete our mission, as the need to defend our country is unceasing. We’ve found that COVID-19 mitigation measures are effective when strictly followed and we hope to continue our tradition of hosting our Air Show for the Beaufort community, safely,” the email stated.

Fleming did make it clear, however, that the air station was also reserving the right to cancel the event, if needed.

“As we draw closer, if MCAS Beaufort determines we can’t host an air show safely for attendees, staff, and performers, a decision will be made to cancel or modify the event,” the email stated. “However, given the current safety measures in place and the event being more than 90 days away, at this point in time we do not feel this is the case.”

The 2013 Air Show was canceled because of budget cuts. At the time, the Marine Corps said it made the decision hoping to lessen the chance that sequestration would impact essential programs, operational readiness and mission capabilities.

The air show, which features military aircraft on display as well as aviation demonstrations by the Navy’s Blue Angels and other pilots, military and civilian, is free and usually attracts 100,000 spectators or more.

“We look forward to April 2023,” MCAS Beaufort’s news release said, “as planning for the biennial MCAS Beaufort Air Show has already begun.”

Mindy Lucas contributed to this report.

Mike McCombs is the editor of The Island News and can be reached at TheIslandNews@gmail.com.

Please send all queries to the MCAS Beaufort Communication Strategy and Operations Office at BFRT_JPAO@usmc.mil or call 843-228-7225.


Above: Attendees at the 2015 Air Show at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort take in the U.S. Air Force C-5 Galaxy on the tarmac. Photo by Bob Sofaly.


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