The Thunderbirds Delta formation flies over the crowd to start their air performance. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez)
Tampa, FL -- When AirFest returns to MacDill Air Force Base in March, the jets, aerobatics and excitement will still be there but the show will have a new name.
The event, formerly called MacDill AirFest, will now be called MacDill Air Force Base presents Tampa Bay AirFest. Officials say the reason for the change is to reflect the addition of civilian aircraft and performers that will be added in 2014.
"Aside from our military acts and static displays that will be there, we're also going to have quite a few civilian aerial demonstrations and statics as well, some even from the local community," Air Show Director Major Matt Parker told 10 News on Wednesday.
This year's show was canceled as politicians argued and automatic budget cuts known as sequestration kicked in. There was no show in 2012 either.
RELATED: MacDill cancels AirFest due to sequestration
But MacDill officials say with civilians now being a part of the show, the cost to put on AirFest will be more than cut in half. The 6th Air Mobility Wing Vice Commander says adding local performers will also help with the event's long term viability.
"As wise stewards of the taxpayers' money and given current fiscal realities this is going to be much more of a cooperative venture, said Col. Andre Briere, Vice Commander 6th Air Mobility Wing, MacDill AFB.
"In the process of creating this model that it becomes sustainable year after year."
AirFest traditionally draws about 150,000 spectators to MacDill during the two-day show and officials doubt getting a big crowd in 2014 will be a problem with the Air Force's Thunderbirds being the main attraction.
PHOTOS: Thunderbirds Delta perform in Titusville
"They are the premiere demonstration team in the nation and we're super excited that they've chosen to visit us," Parker said.
MacDill AFB presents Tampa Bay AirFest will be March 22 and 23.
The Thunderbirds are scheduled to perform both days.
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