New Venue, New Life For Air Show

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The chief executive officer of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority believes a new business model has the potential to increase revenue for a marquee summer event. Speros Batistatos says moving the South Shore Air Show to Fair Oaks Farms will allow organizers to collect ticket and parking revenue, which was not possible when it was held on the shores of Lake Michigan. That could lead to more money being pumped into other events throughout the region. During an interview on Inside INdiana Business, Batistatos says he believes it is the first time in the U.S. that an air show has partnered with a private sector attraction. The air show is returning this year, following a one-year hiatus.

News Release

Originally Posted November 21, 2013

HAMMOND, Ind. - The South Shore Air Show will return in 2014 at a new location. Speros A. Batistatos, president and CEO of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, and Gary Corbett, CEO of Fair Oaks Farms, announced that Fair Oaks Farms will play backdrop to the event at a press conference on Thursday, Nov. 21.

"When making the decision to bring the air show back, the South Shore CVA staff wanted to bring it back bigger and better than ever," Batistatos stated. With the recent cancellation of the Indy Air Show, the move will draw even more visitors, Batistatos explained. Fair Oaks Farms is situated between Chicago and Indianapolis, opening the event up to potential attendees who may not have attended the event in Miller Beach.

Fair Oaks Farms is a 33,000 acre attraction, allowing the two organizations ample room to make additions to the family-fun event.

"Hosting an air show at a tourism destination, like Fair Oaks Farms, has yet to be done in the United States," said Batistatos. "We have a real opportunity to bring in new facets to an event that is already a 'must-attend' for residents and visitors."

Additionally, Batistatos believes hosting the air show at Fair Oaks Farms will challenge conventional thinking on space used for events along the South Shore.

"Northwest Indiana is such a unique area. There are many different features that can be highlighted and tailored to make an event truly special and successful," said Batistatos.

According to Batistatos, Fair Oaks Farms enthusiastically agreed to partner for the 2014 air show.

"Fair Oaks Farms is transitioning and growing at an exponential rate," said Batistatos. "With breaking ground for a restaurant and discussion for the additions of a hotel and indoor water park, Fair Oaks Farms has positioned themselves to being leaders in the hospitality and tourism industry."

South Shore Air Show attendees will be able to enjoy the traditional, exciting aerial acrobatics in addition to exploring all Fair Oaks Farms has to offer. With the recent addition of The Pig Adventure, Fair Oaks Farms has numerous educational and entertaining activities for all ages. Proposed additions to the air show include a car show and live music entertainment.

Previously, the South Shore Air Show has been held on the beaches of Marquette Park in the Miller Beach section of Gary. In 2012, the air show saw an estimated 570,000 attendees over the three-day event which included numerous aerial acts, a twilight night show with fireworks, kids’ zone, beer garden, food vendors, charity event and VIP receptions. The 14th annual South Shore Air Show was canceled due to the impacts of sequestration.

"The South Shore CVA Board of Directors and staff, as well as Fair Oaks Farms, are very excited for the opportunity of presenting a reconfigured, unique visitor experience," stated Batistatos.

Dates for the 2014 South Shore Air Show will be announced in the coming months.

Source: The South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority