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The Central Florida Air Fair was designated as the official Florida State Air Fair in 1976. The fair's last year was 1994, only 18 years as an official state air fair.
Memories Of Air Shows Will Have To Do For Now
ENTERTAINMENT - ON THE TOWN
December 30, 1994
Last month, the Rotary Club of Kissimmee yanked its sponsorship of the Florida State Air Fair after 30 years, claiming the show was too much work and too much financial risk. The decision left organizers looking for another sponsor and possibly facing the end of the longtime tradition.
The Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce shot down plans to have a hot air balloon championship this past September.
As we reported last month, Tom Reilly, founder of Kissimmee's Warbird Weekend and owner/operator of the Flying Tigers Warbird Air Museum, has canceled January's flying event.
Reilly said Warbird Weekend will take at least a one-year hiatus while he catches up on debts from last year's event. The show could be grounded permanently.
''Over the past three years, we have lost money on the show due to bad weather, and we can't afford to keep losing money year after year,'' he explained. ''Last year was rained out and we lost $20,000.''
Reilly said the show, which has taken place in Kissimmee for eight years, costs $150,000 to $175,000 to operate.
Low attendance, poor weather and other factors have kept the event from thriving.
''First of of all, there has been a lack of tourism,'' Reilly said. ''There are also so many air shows in the (Central Florida) area that they have become diluted.''
The Warbird Weekend shares the local calendar with the Florida State Air Fair, Air Show Orlando in Sanford and the Lakeland Air Show, which Reilly noted first took place in Kissimmee in 1971.
The city of Kissimmee and Osceola's Tourist Development Council have helped Warbird Weekend in past years, but Reilly said he must put out the money himself ahead of time for many expenses, including police, fire and ambulance services that are sometimes waived for charitable fund-raisers
The law designating the Central Florida Air Fair as the official Florida state air fair is found in the Florida Revised Statutes, Title 2, Chapter 15, Section 15.039
Title IV EXECUTIVE BRANCH
Chapter 15 SECRETARY OF STATE
15.039 Official state air fair.- The Central Florida Air Fair is hereby designated as the official Florida state air fair.
History.- s. 1, ch. 76-45.