Tattoo sponsors expect to stay on

This year’s $325,000 event was canceled due to storm.

The Air Force said it invested $325,000 in this year’s Freedom’s Call Tattoo, an annual community event involving music, fireworks and aircraft fly-overs that had to be canceled last week when a storm and high winds posed a threat to public safety.

The scope of next year’s event will depend on sponsorship support and available federal money in an era of increasingly tight budgets across the Department of Defense, said Sue Murphy, a spokeswoman for the Air Force Materiel Command which puts on the Freedom’s Call Tattoo.

The canceled event at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, which provides staff and infrastructure support, was to have honored Vietnam War veterans and their service. The 2013 event will retain that theme, Murphy said Thursday.

Wright-Patterson is grateful for sponsors’ support and received about $90,000 in sponsorship funds, which primarily are used to pay for the musical entertainment.

It also is used to pay for fireworks, base spokesman Daryl Mayer said. The event cancellation also wiped out the scheduled concert by performer Eddie Money, who was paid.

The cancellation cost the base an expected $30,000 in rental fees from vendors and an estimated $40,000 in beverage sales, Mayer said. Those revenues would have gone to support base recreational programs, he said.

“We look forward to continuing the tradition of Tattoo in the future,” Mayer said.

The Tattoo is a free, one-day public event that typically draws about 80,000 people. Last week’s event would have been the eighth annual Tattoo and was the first to be canceled.

It won’t be rescheduled this year, base officials said. Wright-Patterson launched the fireworks, even after canceling Friday’s events, because it was deemed safer than repackaging them, Mayer said.

Several of the sponsors said it is too early to assess whether they would keep their contributions at this year’s levels, but were willing to continue as sponsors in 2013 because they view it as the Air Force’s show of goodwill to the community.

“It’s important. We want to continue to support it,” said Rob Rohr, general manager of Cox Media Group Ohio, which owns the Springfield News-Sun and WHIO television and radio.

“All things being equal, we would support it next year,” said Christian Hahn, general manager of Joseph Airport Toyota in Vandalia. “We think it’s a great event.”

“We believe in supporting the troops and their families and will consider sponsoring next year, if the request is made,” Tom Raga, a DP&L vice president, said in a email statement to the Springfield News-Sun.

Staff writer Kelli Wynn contributed to this report.

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