Hollister council members on Monday cleared the way to move the 3-year-old Hollister Airshow from Memorial Day weekend to a weekend around July 4 after concerns arose over weather conditions in late May.
Airport Director Mike Chambless, who oversees the Hollister Airshow, made the recommendation to change the air show to July 5 to July 7, with the intention to find a more attendance-friendly schedule and expand the number of days for the previously two-day event, which lost about $18,000 in 2012 and is financed through the airport fund. His presentation was based on a recommendation from the airport advisory commission.
Although some council members expressed concern about the new time frame – particularly due to talks of reviving the motorcycle rally traditionally held around July 4 – they agreed to have Chambless return with a formal recommendation for air show dates, a matter up for approval Aug. 20.
Chambless told council members that a holiday weekend is more appealing for a couple of reasons – businesses in the area tend to be closed already on holidays, so there are no concerns about flight logistics, and working around Calfire’s air-attack unit at the airport is less of a problem as well.
Chambless said neighboring businesses normally operate on Saturdays and would have to do unplanned closures if the event was held over a non-holiday weekend.
“We’re limited by our air space,” Chambless said in an interview Wednesday. “We don’t want to be a burden on our neighbors.”
It looks as though his recommendation will come to fruition, at least for next year.
Council members Ray Friend, Victor Gomez and Pauline Valdivia all expressed support for moving the Hollister Air Show from Memorial Day to the July 5-7 schedule in 2013. Just one of those three, however, said he believes the air show could coincide with a motorcycle rally – an event council members and other leaders have talked of reviving either next year or in 2014.
“I think they will work together,” said Friend, who is collaborating with Councilman Robert Scattini on a committee organizing prospects for a future rally. “It’s going to take a lot of effort. It’s going to take a lot of coordination.”
Scattini and Friend said they have talked to potential promoters about putting on a biker rally and will continue planning efforts in the coming months.
Though Scattini agreed about bringing back the rally – historically the city’s signature event, canceled after 2009 due to a financial loss largely caused by law enforcement costs of about $360,000 – he didn’t concur about running it during the same week as the air show, heading into its fourth year.
“We’re definitely going to do it,” Scattini said of a biker rally, “and to put the air show and motorcycle rally on at the same time is ludicrous.”
Two other council members – Gomez and Valdivia – are on board with the change to July 5-7 for 2013 but remain skeptical about running a biker rally and air show during the same time frame. Councilman Doug Emerson could not be reached before press time.
Gomez said he agreed to the move after hearing input from the airport commission because they are the “ones that understand the show more than anyone else.”
Moving forward after 2013, though?
“I think it will be a conflict in the upcoming years,” Gomez said.
Valdivia said she doubts the city could pull off organizing a rally for 2013. She was concerned about Memorial Day and its sometimes uncooperative weather.
“You can’t have an air show if nobody’s going to show up because of the weather,” she said.