Peachtree City’s Great Georgia Airshow is taking year off to retool

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To give organizers time to prepare for an expansion, the Great Georgia Airshow will be on hiatus this year.

But it will come roaring back to Peachtree City Oct. 12-13, 2013, officials said.

Airshow Director Angie Faulise said the airshow board made the decision to ground it this year so time could be taken to examine every facet of the airshow. The goal is to begin preparing for the airshow to expand, not just in the number of aircraft but also in terms of patrons, Faulise said.

In the meantime, the board is recruiting interested persons who can offer their expertise in any part of the airshow experience, as they are trying to get fresh eyes on a 14-year juggernaut event that draws the most out-of-town visitors to Peachtree City. Interested persons can email ggasinfo@gmail.com. The board currently meets on the second Wednesday of each month, but committee meetings will be set later according to the schedules of each member.

As it turns out, the timing of the hiatus works out well, as the military has mothballed its demonstration teams due to tight budgets, Faulise said. There is some hope the teams can be resurrected in future years if funds become available, she added.

Funding was not a problem for the airshow last year, and neither was patron satisfaction, Faulise said.

Though word of the hiatus is just beginning to spread, Faulise is already getting feedback from patrons who say they will miss the airshow this year. And while the decision was difficult, Faulise points to the potential for growth for the annual event.

The time off will be used for a detailed examination of everything that happens at the airshow with an eye on improvement, Faulise said.

“Every facet of the airshow will be opened up and taken a look at,” Faulise said. “We will see what works well and what we want to keep, and what we need to make the airshow viable for the next 15 years and beyond.”

There are more parking lots that can be used to bus in patrons, Faulise noted. And there is some more room on the ramp for more aircraft.

One of the main focus points for the hiatus will be how to derive more value for the airshow sponsors, as they have been very loyal to the event, Faulise said.

Another focus will be to look at “best practices” that can be adopted from other successful airshows across the country, Faulise said. The airshow is also wanting to take a close look at its community relations.

The airshow performers who have visited Falcon Field over the years have enjoyed the shows because the crowd is closer than at other airshows, Faulise said. So they are jumping at the chance to come back here in October 2013, she added.

“And we really have nice people coming to our show, and they enjoy that,” Faulise said.

The airshow has already put out the request for military support so whatever demonstration teams are available will have the date on their calendar too, Faulise said.

The airshow is a joint presentation from the Dixie Wing of the Commemorative Air Force, located at Falcon Field, and the Peachtree City Kiwanis Club. The airshow is also a fund-raising opportunity for a number of volunteer organizations such as the Boy Scouts who sell refreshments and also school groups.

It takes some 300 volunteers a day to put on the annual event, and that doesn’t include the presence of police and fire personnel on hand.