SARA to stage air show in 2018

Published 3:05 am Friday, October 27, 2017

South Alabama Regional Airport will be the site of the Andalusia Opp Airshow in November 2018.

The SARA Authority gave Executive Director Jed Blackwell the OK to hold the airshow at the airport.

Blackwell proposed a $200,000 budget, including $90,000 for musical entertainment.

However, the board gave him authority to seek local acts with a $5,000 cap.

The budget calls for spending $50,000 on aviation performance; $11,000 in discretionary; $10,000 for fuel; $10,000 for an airshow contract; $9,000 for hotels, lodging and rental vehicles; and $5,000 each for contract labor, staff and overtime and insurance.

Blackwell explained that SARA would seek sponsorships for the event, and would charge a nominal entry fee.

The airport held an airshow in 2010 with attendance projections of 10,000 to 11,000 people.

“The economic impact to the area is that sales taxes (collections) are very high,” Blackwell said. “It’s a positive thing.”

The three entities that jointly helped finance construction of hangars at SARA, and which pay the note if those hangars don’t have tenants – Covington County Commission, City of Andalusia and City of Opp – also approved the plan.

“2010 was a huge success,” Andalusia City Clerk John Thompson said. “It’s overdue. It’s past time. It’s important to get the public here.”

County Commission Chairman Greg White said he supported it wholeheartedly, and Opp Mayor Becky Bracke gave her approval as well.

Those gathered at the meeting, agreed that the music could be on a smaller scale rather than getting bigger, more expensive acts.

Authority board member Donald Barton said that he thought they should concentrate on doing a “jam up airshow,” and they should get people used to coming.

Kelly Brandin, executive administrator of the Opp Chamber of Commerce, said that they could get local bands for a cheaper price.

Vicki Popwell, president of the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors, said they had a long list of acts who wanted to come to July Jamz they could share with the airport authority.

The organizers also agreed to try to keep admission prices affordable for working families.

The airshow is set for Nov. 17, 2018.