Reporting Bill Hudson
ST. CLOUD, Minn. (WCCO) – It was planned to be a huge fundraiser for a central Minnesota Boy Scout camp. But Washington’s budget cuts have grounded a popular and profitable air show.
The Navy’s Blue Angels aren’t flying due to those cuts, and organizers of the St. Cloud Air Show in July say it can’t go on without them.
The show was expected to draw tens of thousands of spectators, and raise over $100,000 for the Central Minnesota Boy Scout Council (CMC). But they’re not the only non-profit that’s now scrambling to make up the funds.
Disappointment runs deep in CMC’s offices. Scout Executive David Trehey says thousands of dollars had already been spent lining up acts and printing posters and tickets. And over 100 volunteers have spent the past 18 months planning the event.
“About six weeks ago we started to recognize that this is serious,” Trehey said. “Our goal and hopes were that we would net $100,000 on the event and dedicate that to our camp.”
That camp is the Parker Scout Reservation in Nisswa, whcih hosts thousands of scouts each summer. But it’s not just the scouts who lose their fundraiser. Dozens of other non-profits would have been selling concessions and souvenirs.
Air Show Chairwoman Jill Magelssen says months and months of preparation for the event will now go to waste.
“For the last 18 months we’ve been working really hard to put together a really quality program and event for the Central Minnesota community. And it was really disappointing to have to cancel,” Magelssen said.
The Blue Angels had assembled 12 aerial performers, some of the nation’s best. The plan was also to use the event as a major camporee for the scouts.
There the scouts would have spent time with the Navy pilots in an effort to both promote an interest in flight and work towards an aviation merit badge.