Dalton officials: Air show cancellation caught us off guard

February 8, 2020 GMT

DALTON, Ga. (AP) — Officials in a north Georgia city say they were caught off-guard at the cancellation of the Wings Over Dalton Air Show.

Dalton Municipal Airport Manager Andrew Wiersma says the promoter told him last month that he planned to cancel the May show because of poor advance ticket sales.

Rome, Georgia-based JLC Air Show Management said in a letter to the city that only 158 tickets had been sold, well below projections, The Daily Citizen News reported.

Digital ads have been successful in promoting in other air shows, but did not work this time, said Brenda Little, a representative of the promoter.

News releases were also issued, but didn’t result in much coverage outside the Dalton area.

“We’ve had some coverage in the Chattanooga market, but not much beyond that,” Little said.

Dalton City Council member Gary Crews said several residents had spoken to him about the lack of advertising for the show.

“What people don’t understand is that usually when circuses and things like that come into town, they handle their own advertising,” he said.

Dalton Mayor David Pennington says he was also surprised by the lack of advertising.

“As a small business owner, when events come to town people usually contact me to buy tickets,” he said.

The contract says the promoter, the city and city tourism officials “will use best efforts to promote the event.” But includes no benchmarks for how much advertising will run, where it will run and when it will run, the newspaper reported.

“The city had run posts about the show on our social media and the airport’s Facebook page, but we had not yet started a full advertising push about the show,” said city spokesman Bruce Frazier said.

Margaret Thigpen, director of the Dalton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the promoter “was the lead on any and every marketing effort.”