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Air show to take flight, despite cuts


May 31, 2013
Reminder Publications submitted photo

Reminder Publications submitted photo

By Carley Dangona

carley@thereminder.com

CHICOPEE — The Galaxy Community Council, a 501(c)(3), is in the midst of planning the Great New England Wings and Wheels Show for August the only air show in the area this year.

Wings and Wheels is slated to take place Aug. 24 and 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Westover Metropolitan Airport. The event will feature vintage aircraft, cars, motorcycles and music. The cost to attend is $10 with children 12 and younger admitted for free.

Proceeds will benefit multiple organizations including Soldier On, the United Service Organization, Homes for Our Troops and Shriners Hospital for Children.

"Part of our mission is to foster communication between Westover and the surrounding communities," Bud Shuback, Galaxy president, said, adding that he joined the council because he wants to give back to the community.

Shuback estimated that 18 to 20 aircraft such as vintage WWII Warbirds and C-47 Gooney Birds will be on display in addition to more than 500 cars such as hot rods and muscle cars. Live bands will provide entertainment throughout the day playing music from the 50s, 60s and 70s. Vendor tables and food for purchase will also be available.

Shuback explained that this event is also a fundraiser to support future shows. He said that it is not a military-organized event and is put on by the all-volunteer council. He noted that military demonstrations from those such as the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, which are considered commonplace at air shows, have all been canceled due to government spending cuts.

Bill Sheehan, chief publicist and member of the Board of Directors for the council, said, "The event has taken off like a rocket."

He added that Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine are just some of the states that have canceled annual air shows. "This is the only air show you'll see this year," he stated.

In the past, military forces would assist with event security, parking and the electrical supply, but not this year. "It's a real community involved event," Shuback said.

He said that support from local businesses and community members has been "amazing." An example is King Ward coach lines, a company that's volunteered their buses to provide a free parking lot shuttle for no cost to event organizers. State and city police will be in charge of security.

For more information about the event, visit www.greatnewenglandwingsandwheels.com. For more details about the council, go to www.galaxycouncil.com.

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