CREATED Jun. 9, 2013
MANITOWOC- Big changes for Thunder on the Lakeshore, the airshow in Manitowoc is taking a huge hit after military spending cuts. Leaders are having to make up for losing performances and aircraft, but the funding is coming out of their pockets.
This airshow costs roughly $100,000 to put on and the show usually includes military jets, which are paid for by the government, but with the sequester cuts Thunder on the Lakeshore is forced to do more with less.
Planes soar through the skies in Manitowoc, but this year something is missing.
"There are less people here than other years," said Janee Harker. She's been coming to the Manitowoc air show for five years now and says she just loves to see all the planes and support the people who put the event on.
Air force F-16's and Navy F-18's usually make some thunder, but this year the crowd favorites are no where in sight.
"I think it's going to impact the show no matter what because that's the big rumble on the lakeshore when you hear those big jets going on," said Joe Gaiovnik.
Gaiovnik has been coming to the airshow since it started, 21 years ago. He says rain or shine he always comes out to see the planes.
This year's show has less though.
"We've made up for it just by having a variety of acts," said Jutta Furca, the director of the airshow.
They've added a jet powered school bus and this year the Tuskegee Airmen came for a special performance, since they were unable to make it last year.
Organizers had to rethink the layout after a call in April saying due to military spending cuts the jets would be grounded for the airshow.
"We just regrouped and decided that we were the little airshow that could and we were going to make it happen," said Furca.
Leaders had to pay private pilots to fly their planes and fill the gaps left from the missing military jets.
Despite no jets, die hard fans like Gaiovnik are not disappointed.
"You know you're lacking some of the thrill of it, it's what the big jets do bring, without a question, but is that all of the show, no not by any stretch," said Gaiovnik.
The airshow is also a week later this year, due to Memorial Day, which may have affected the crowds. Some of the regulars may have been attending other events around Northeast Wisconsin.