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Air show a no-go for 2018, officials say

At top, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels Jet Demonstration Team fly over the Brunswick Golden Isles Airport runway before landing Thursday for the Wings Over the Golden Isles airshow. Above, members of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels Jet Demonstration Team walk past the jets after landing Thursday.

An air show held at Glynn County’s largest airport earlier this year will not return in 2018, county officials and event organizers said Tuesday.

JLC AirShow Management, which organized the Wings Over Golden Isles Air Show in March, could not reach an agreement with the Glynn County Airport Commission to bring the high-flying spectacle back next year, according to John Cowman, JLC’s president and owner.

“We had a one-year agreement to produce the show, which we did last March, but in order to move forward, it takes another agreement,” Cowman said by phone. “We wanted a long-term agreement, because it’s a sizable investment. The proposal we sent was rejected.”

Robert Burr, executive director of the airport commission, said JLC was asking the county to shoulder more financial and promotional burden for the event, held at the Brunswick-Golden Isles Airport.

“Mostly, it had to do with risk factor,” Burr said by phone. “They (JLC) were assuming the risk (in March), and they wanted to shift that to us, and that’s not in our best interest, and it’s not in the public’s best interest. We offered to pursue the same agreement (as in March), but that did not go forward.”

Burr said JLC wanted the county — and thereby the taxpayers — to pay more substantial costs for producing and promoting the air show, which he said would have benefitted JLC and not the public.

Cowman declined to discuss specifics of the negotiations, but said he was proud of this year’s air show.

“We appreciate the community for their support,” he said. “That’s about all I can say. I don’t have any hard feelings.”

There may be other opportunities for aviation-related events, and the airport commission is continually soliciting new entertainment options, Burr said.

“This doesn’t deter us,” Burr said. “We are working on other activities now, and the only thing that’s happened is that the next aviation event will not be with JLC.”

The Wings Over Golden Isles Air Show was the first such production in more than 20 years in Glynn County and brought more than 55,000 attendees over the festival’s three days. Its economic impact may have been as much as $5 million, but the county did not benefit directly from ticket sales.

Burr said he hopes to negotiate future aviation events that will produce equitable conditions to county taxpayers.

“We are looking at other promotional activities,” Burr said. “But it has to be a good, sound plan. A good deal has to be a good deal for everyone.”

 

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