Let me thank Lee Engleman at Kodiak Jacks for stepping up and providing food sponsorship for the EAA Mayor's Breakfast again this year. Both Bob and I welcome the opportunity to broadcast live from the event every year. Honestly, anything is better than sitting in the dark at the Federal Pavilion--by ourselves--doing the Morning News Focus. Throw in some free food and we'll gladly come out there every year.
But during our discussions yesterday about the possibility of no Mayor's Breakfast, I admitted that I would be okay if there wasn't such an event every year. I may be a traditionalist--but if it becomes such an incredible struggle to put on a Breakfast, or a concert series or something along those lines, I am also willing to let it go. Better to end a "tradition" than to have it deteriorate to something that no longer becomes special--or just embarrasses those who are involved.
You could say that "my generation" is partly to blame for the decline in "community events" in recent years. We fill our own schedules--and those of our kids--so tightly nowadays that giving up a week, a weekend or even a day is difficult. We'll go to an event for a couple of hours--but to give up an entire day to serve as a volunteer--we'll have to get back to you that one.
Actually, many of our "community events" are large-scale, for-profit extravaganzas. Look at the explosion in popularity of Country USA, Summerfest and now Rock USA. I imagine it doesn't hurt that beer sales are incredibly strong at many of those events as well.
I'll be interested to see what the future of EAA Airventure holds. When you look at the volunteers who really make that event work are getting rather gray and long in the tooth. Fewer younger people are getting into private aviation--meaning that passion that sustains the 7-day Fly-In will be on the decline as well. Remember when Oshkosh was a ten-day run? How long until that dwindles down to just five days--or a long weekend?
If it means retaining a quality event, sometimes shorter or less is better.