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Blue Angels booked for air show

The Blue Angels will perform at the Duluth air show in August. The Aad Shrine Duluth Air and Aviation Expo will mark the first time since 1989 that the precision U.S. Navy flying team will visit the Twin Ports area. Air show organizers confirmed ...

The Blue Angels will perform at the Duluth air show in August.
The Aad Shrine Duluth Air and Aviation Expo will mark the first time since 1989 that the precision U.S. Navy flying team will visit the Twin Ports area.
Air show organizers confirmed that the Blue Angels were coming and provided other details on the event to the St. Louis County Commission on Tuesday.
Organizers met with the board to request a $5,000 cash contribution from the county.
The event, scheduled for Aug. 24-26, is projected to attract about 50,000 spectators.
According to expo president Ryan Kern, the show has a budget goal of $200,000. Duluth, Hermantown and Superior have already signed on as sponsors. Douglas Country, Wis., will also be asked for a contribution.
Duluth and Hermantown, however, are only providing in-kind support, while Superior is donating $5,000.
Kern said the Blue Angels confirmed Tuesday that they will be making a return visit to the area. The organizers had been hoping to sign either the Angels or the Thunderbirds as the main attraction.
"We're fortunate," he said. "The Blue Angels or the Thunderbirds can't fly anywhere else in Minnesota. Hibbing does not have a long enough runway, and Minneapolis won't shut down the airport for a show."
The Hibbing comment was later questioned by Commissioner Chair Steve Raukar, who pointed out that city's history of air shows and its ability to land big jets.
"To make the air show work, they need a nonprofit." said Roger Kurrle, representing the Aad Shrine Temple Duluth. "Our role is to provide bodies. It may take as many as 400 volunteers."
He said that in return, the temple will get some financial benefits.
"We want to see an air show in the city," Kurrle said. "We think it's a good thing for everybody."
Congressman Jim Oberstar is serving as the honorary chairman of the event.
Kern said they didn't know what the economic impact will be, but they want the event to play a major role in promoting Minnesota's aviation industry and that the show will have an educational aspect.
In addition to the aerial attractions, there will be ground displays. Organizers also hope to bring out some other famous aircraft, such as a U-2 spy plane or a stealth bomber.
Commissioner Mike Forsman moved to approved the $5,000 cash support along with some in-kind services that might be needed.
Duluth's in-kind will consist of $8,000 to $11,000 worth of law enforcement services.
"The air industry has been very good to us up here," Forsman said. "It's real easy to support this."
The motion passed, and the county's support will go to the nonprofit portion of the event, possibly with guidelines on its use.

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