Soaring above expectations, Westover air show brought in $14.9M

An estimated 375,000 people attended the show

FILE - Image Credit: The Great New England Air Show

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The numbers are in for just how much the Great New England Air Show impacted western Massachusetts. About 375,000 people attended the show at the end of May this year, and even more watched the skies from the convenience of their homes and cars.

Westover’s Galaxy Community Council, which organizes the show, hired researchers to determine the impact the show had on the local economy during its two-day run. They found the show brought in $14.9 million in new money to the 30-mile area surrounding the base in Chicopee.

The air show itself was free to attend and park, so that means the $14.9 million was spent at local restaurants, hotels, and shops.

Bud Schuback, President of the Galaxy Community Council, said the show exceeded even their own expectations.

“”Because the economy is much better now, we anticipated that we would do better, didn’t know that was going to be that great though,” Schuback said.

Col. James Bishop of Westover told 22News that the air show is an important way for civilians to see just what the Armed Forces can do.

“We hope to inspire the next generation of aviators and support people, and we hope to tell the public what the capabilities are of the military,” Bishop said.

The show didn’t just attract people from western Massachusetts. In fact, the average one-way driving distance for show attendees was 71.5 miles.

Those surveyed did give advice about what could improve in the future, possibilities included better traffic management, more parking, and better vendor pricing on the base.

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