Orange County Stages Successful Air Show Event That Can Serve as Model for Other Programming

Amanda Dana | September 2020

Town of Montgomery businesses saw an increase in activity from the 2020 New York International Air Show. PHOTO CREDIT: ORANGE COUNTY TOURISM

MONTGOMERY—On August 29 and 30th, Orange County hosted the 2020 New York international Air Show. Although the weather didn’t quite cooperate on Saturday, we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day on Sunday. We estimated that about 12,000 attendees were with us to experience a wonderful show. This size event was the first in New York State post COVID-19 restrictions that started back in March 2020.

The drive-in format, filled with extensive safety guidelines, proved very successful in regard to visitor experience, health and safety. Additionally, Orange County saw increased economic activity from many small businesses. To mention a few, hotels such as Tru by Hilton, Middletown and the Hampton Inn, -Newburgh, experienced many overnight stays (more than 200) from the participants in the airshow and the attendees who traveled from quite a distance to see the event.

The Town and Village of Montgomery also experienced increased visitor spending in their respective municipalities. Attractions such as City Winery Hudson Valley and Angry Orchard both claimed there were many walk-ins from the airshow attendees. Multiple restaurants and delis saw an uptick in sales as 12,000 people passed through and experienced their great downtowns.

This new Drive-in format is much different than last year’s Air show Hosted at New York Stewart international Airport. The two-day event estimated 20,000 attendees per day and much more visitor spending. Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus demonstrated strong leadership and guidance to make sure the 2020 event remained in Orange County. In fact, County Executive Neuhaus is fighting very hard to support Orange County Fair Speedway so that they too can host a Drive-in experience for their Eastern States race. This four-day event, scheduled for October 22-25, historically brings thousands of visitors to Orange County.

“This Air Show was smaller and different this year with strict safety and social distancing guidelines in place; but I think it was important for our community to host the popular event. The Air Show will serve as a model as how to host safe drive-in events, not only in Orange County, but throughout the state,” said Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus.

He continued, “The New York Air Show has had a positive impact on Orange County since its return in 2015 and it provided a fun and exciting weekend at the county’s airport. I’m proud of my staff and all of the county departments who worked diligently to make this event happen without any hitches.”

Undoubtedly, this pandemic has greatly affected events and gatherings, but there is hope that this format will pave the way for other healthy events that will not only provide great experiences for people, but also stimulate our economy and fuel small businesses as they try to navigate through these challenging times.”

Editor’s Note: 2020 New York international Air Show Photos

Amanda Dana