HAVELOCK, CRAVEN COUNTY - MCAS Cherry Point has reversed its decision to cancel its air show, and the event will go on in spring 2014 as planned.
According to the base's Public Affairs Office, the MCAS Cherry Point Air Show will take place from May 16 to May 18 of next year. Officials did not explain why the event has been restored.
Back on Dec. 6, Cherry Point announced that the biennial air show was canceled. The base's commanding officer made the decision due to major reductions in the air station's budget for the coming year, according to a news release issued at that time.
Despite the reasoning behind it, Havelock Mayor, Will Lewis, is happy to find out the show will take place after all.
"Initially when we heard we weren't going to have the air show we were all a little bit bummed," Lewis said. "And then when we heard it was back on we were pretty excited."
Stephanie Duncan, the director of the Havelock Chamber of Commerce, said the air show usually attracts about 250,000 people over the three days that it runs.
Mayor Lewis says the event always brings a boost to the local economy.
"People stay in our hotels, eat at some of our restaurants, of course by gas here, stop by our local shops and check out our local area," Lewis said. "You know some people don't stop in Havelock a lot of times. We get the idea that people drive through Havelock on their way to somewhere else, so this is a great reason to actually stop at Havelock."
Joesph Whiteman was stationed at Cherry Point for about five years during his time with the Marine Corps. He says him and his family love the air show and a repeat attenders. Whiteman understands the impact the show has on the community.
"Well it's just a great show there's no doubt about that," Whiteman said. "It's a great moral builder and it's just good for everybody for the hotels, restaurants, the citizens that come see it, it's just an all around great thing."
Whiteman and his wife opened up an engraving business back in 1974, right after Whiteman had retired from the Marine Corps. He says his business and neighboring ones see the increase in foot traffic from tourists during the air show. The pair recently sold their shop, but say they know from first hand experience that Havelock shops appreciate the business.
"If they wouldn't of had the air show, it would have cost all the businesses a lot because they need the people and the air show is what brings them," Barbara Whiteman said."The show let's people see all that's here because this is a great town."
Both attendance and parking are free, since the event serves as an open house to enhance community relations.
After the 2014 air show, the next event is scheduled for spring of 2016.
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