With a prime sponsor lined up and planning for the Smoky Mountain Air Show well underway, organizers say they hope to be able to announce some of the major acts by January.
The air show, which will be the first at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in nearly 15 years, is set for April 16-17.
On Oct. 20, organizers were joined by local government officials in announcing that Va nquish Worldwide, a Blount County-based logistics company, will be the premier sponsor for the event.
“From the initial conversations with the mayors, with other community leaders and with the Airport Authority, our team knew immediately that we wanted to be part of this exciting event,” Vanquish Worldwide President and CEO Eric W. Barton said at the announcement.
Vanquish, as well as its affiliate companies, Business Owners Benefits Association (BOBA) and Peak Technical Institute, will share in the sponsorship.
Knoxville Metropolitan Airport Authority spokeswoman Caitlin Darras said organizers are no longer taking votes on the air show website for the types of acts people want to see and are considering the results. Military demonstration acts and static displays appear to be some of the favorites, she said. Darras said organizers hope to announce some acts after the first of the year.
“As we get information and get everything confirmed we will share it,” she said.
Jennifer Giffin, air show coordinator, said getting a premier sponsor lined up will benefit both the sponsor and the air show effort. Vanquish Worldwide will be making a financial contribution to the show, which neither Barton nor Giffin would divulge, but which she said is substantial.
“Their contribution will help us secure performers and cover expenses related to the air show,” she said.
Vanquish will help in other ways, too, Barton said. It will take part in events in Blount County, such as the Christmas Parade and others, leading up to the air show, he said.
“We want the airport authority to know we are willing to assist any way we can with people, marketing efforts and getting the word out,” he said.
Giffin said Vanquish will get to advertise in the terminal at McGhee Tyson Airport and in connection with the air show. Barton said Va nquish Worldwide will benefit by having its brand associated with the air show, which will feature the Navy’s Blue Angels flight demonstration team, and with HonorAir Knoxville, which has been designated as beneficiary of extra proceeds from the show.
“As a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business, Vanquish’s mission since 2007 has focused on supporting the war fighter,” he said.
Founded in 2007, Vanquish Worldwide provides logistics, security, transportation and various other support services to military and commercial customers worldwide. Barton is a Marine Corps veteran who served as an intelligence officer and sniper platoon leader.
In 2004, Barton graduated with honors from the U.S. Army Chaplain School.
– Saul Young, Knoxville News Sentinel