Fort Worth air show loses star attraction

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by MONIKA DIAZ

WFAA

Posted on April 9, 2013 at 10:12 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 9 at 10:37 PM

FORT WORTH — The nation's top military fliers, the Blue Angels, thrill crowds with their extraordinary stunts.

But the thrill is gone for now.

Federal budget cuts grounded the team, a decision that has left the top air show in North Texas, the Fort Worth Alliance Air Show, without its main attraction.

“My hope is that they find a way... maybe there's a multinational aerobatic team that might come in or something," said Rhenda White Brunner, the director at USO Dallas/Fort Worth.

For White-Brunner, the cancellation impacts more than the air show. Every year, event organizers donate money to area-charities, including the USO DFW.

“We have gotten $60,000 to $70,000 in the past four or five years from them,” White-Brunner said.

Every dollar donated helps the USO DFW with military homecomings and pre-deployment farewells. When soldiers get stuck, stranded or change planes at the airport, the USO DFW’s three centers offer more than cheers.

“It makes it possible for us to give everything that we have in the way of supplies, food and snacks completely free to our service members,” White-Brunner said.

Around 100,000 people attend the Alliance air show every year. Organizers expressed disappointment after the Blue Angels' cancellation, but said "contingency plans are in place, and we are looking forward to sharing some exciting news in the near future about this year's performer lineup."

The USO hopes that announcement brings the crowds when the air show takes flight in October.

"I hope it's well-attended this year, and it's still a very fun event," White-Brunner said.

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com

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