HILL AIR FORCE BASE — While large community events are being canceled all over the world on a daily basis amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Hill Air Force Base officials say there’s still enough time, and some hope, that the installation’s biennial air show could go on.
This year’s show is scheduled to take place June 27-28. In a press release, Hill spokesman Donovan Potter said the show’s theme is “80 Years of Excellence,” commemorating the installation’s 80-year existence in Northern Utah.
Dubbed The Warriors Over the Wasatch Air and Space Show, the event takes place every other year, and it’s one of the largest air shows in the country. It’s the largest single event in Utah, with regular attendees traveling from all over the United States and Canada. During the show, the normally secure base opens its gates to the public and tens of thousands of visitors converge on the installation’s flightline. During the 2018 show, base officials estimated more than 565,000 visitors attended the two-day performance — a number that was about 15,000 more than the show’s previous attendance record of 550,000.
As social distancing measures become the norm in the face of the virus crisis, the status of the show seems to grow more unclear with each passing day. But Tom Mullican, director of public affairs at Hill, said there haven’t been any decisions made about postponing or canceling the show, and organizers continue with the planning process.
“There has not been any decision on the air show at this time,” Mullican said in an email to the Standard-Examiner. “We are still continuing to plan for the air show (to take place) June 27-28.”
On Wednesday, Ogden’s GOAL! Foundation announced the 2020 America First Ogden Marathon, which had been scheduled to take place on May 16, would be postponed until Sept. 26. The largest event held in Ogden, the marathon typically features around 6,500 participants and more than 10,000 spectators, which is a fraction of the usual attendance at the air show.
There are more logistics involved with the marathon, however, with the city having to gain permission to use state roads and other facilities owned by different government entities. Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell said coordinating logistics was a big reason for the postponement. The city had to work closely with the Utah Department of Transportation to find another date when State Route 39 could be used.
The air show, on the other hand, takes place entirely within the confines of the base.
A statement released by Hill on Wednesday reported that there has been one confirmed case of the virus on base so far.