After 50 Years, Farewell to the Watsonville Airshow

  • May 19, 2015 10:44pm GMT

Watsonville City Planners recently announced the show will not go on as it has for the past 50 years.

Maria Esther Rodriguez, Watsonville’s assistant director of public works and utilities, said although the air show won’t have its aerobatics exhibition or performances in September, it will display antique and historic aircraft on the ground.

“I would categorize it more as a transformation rather than a cancellation,” Rodriguez said in a statement to the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

The show will be one day instead of two, and unlike recent years, tickets will be free. Young Eagles, a youth aviation group, will give its annual demonstration, and many food vendors will be present. The event also will feature a “kids zone” and a Friday night movie, as in previous years, she said.

Although city leaders claim the show's attendance never recovered following 9/11, many of the long-time attendees will cite unusual and unfair fees for those flying in to the event. With fewer aircraft and attractions, there was less interest by the local community.

The Watsonville Airshow and Fly-in provided a first for many performers looking to break into the industry. The late Eddie Andreini was a staple as were many of the vintage aircraft from the local communities.

The show will go on however, but in a slightly smaller capacity. City planners are moving forward with a fly-in that will be free of charge, but hope to save money by not involving aerobatic performers. This will ease the cost and complexity of not only the performers, but the insurance, fuel, waivers, etc.

The Watsonville Fly-in will be held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. September 5.