Some Rockford businesses worry new AirFest date leaves them out - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Some Rockford businesses worry new AirFest date leaves them out

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AirFest (file photo) AirFest (file photo)
On the Waterfront (file photo) On the Waterfront (file photo)
AirFest (file photo) AirFest (file photo)
On the Waterfront (file photo) On the Waterfront (file photo)
ROCKFORD (WREX) -

Labor Day weekend once again has a big event for Rockford. 13News reported Wednesday AirFest has been moved to that spot on the calendar. But local businesses that profited from downtown Waterfront activity are worried they'll still be out of luck. Organizers say it is not about replacing Waterfront but having some sort of event on that big weekend.

"Frankly it works out nice with the On the Waterfront situation here in town and we are already talking with the RAVE organization here in town and to Gordon Kaye about doing some sort of co-venture activity with what the RAVE is planning for downtown and the music that weekend along with the AirFest," says Mike Dunn Chicago/Rockford International Airport, director of economic development and government affairs.

Businesses wait for word that something will be planned for downtown Labor Day weekend. On the Waterfront was based entirely in the central city and sold multi-day passes to keep people staying and spending money there for several days. Though AirFest injects roughly half a million dollars into Rockford's economy many of that money goes to businesses outside of downtown. But that could change. Last year's kick-off concert the day before AirFest has organizers considering mixing more music with aviation.

"We did a downtown picnic for all the performers and we had the Cheap Trick concert last year for all the performers so it turned out to be a real nice event," says Dunn.

"We are hopeful there will be some other musical festivals that will take place during labor day weekend but we are not sure at this time," says Bridget French, Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, marketing manager.

But the RACVB is happy it's not losing two major events this summer.

"Obviously On the Waterfront had an impact on downtown businesses but we are hopeful with AirFest being postponed it will make it a great end to the summer," says French.

The September AirFest will be a scaled down version. Right now it is still not known if the Blue Angels will be able to perform.

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