MIRAMAR (CNS) - One day before it was supposed to start, the annual Miramar Air Show became a casualty of the government shutdown Thursday, with the military announcing its cancellation.
"The timing couldn't be worse but it is what it is," Col. John P. Farnam, commanding officer at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, said at a news conference Thursday morning.
He said people who bought special access passes and all event sponsors would be reimbursed.
Farnam learned of the cancellation from the Defense Department early Thursday. He said that the event was already paid for and organizers thought it could proceed, but guidelines pertaining to the government shutdown forbid it.
"Personally I'm disappointed ... from the bottom of my heart," Farnam said. "I apologize to San Diego for having to stand here and make this statement."
The 58th annual aerial extravaganza was scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. Even before the cancellation, the show was scaled back from its usual three days to two after the Defense Department announced that military flight demonstrations would not be allowed due to the automatic spending cuts known as "sequestration." That included the Navy's wildly popular Blue Angels. Sequestration affected air shows around the country.
Interim Mayor Todd Gloria said it's unfortunate the bickering in Washington has ruined one of the city's premier events. He added the economic impact is also emotional. Money raised by the show goes to help many military families in need.
"I'm extremely disappointed in the political dysfunction that has brought us to this point," Gloria said. "When you think about the sequestration, the budget reductions, that have already happened, I don't really think they can spare a dime when it comes to our military families."