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Federal cuts doom Skyfest air show revival

UPDATED: Mon., March 4, 2013, 4:43 p.m.

The return of Skyfest will have to wait.

Fairchild Air Force Base confirmed today that the popular air show is being canceled because of federal spending cuts. The announcement came just days after the Air Force’s precision flying team, the Thunderbirds, canceled its planned Spokane visit along with the rest of its 2013 tour, citing lack of funding.

“We certainly hope to be able to host an air show for our patriotic community in the future — down the road when fiscal times improve,” Col. Brian Newberry, commander of the Fairchild-based 92nd Air Refueling Wing, said in a prepared statement.

The free air show had been scheduled for May 18-19 and was intended to coincide with Spokane’s annual Lilac Festival.

The federal spending reductions, referred to in Washington, D.C. as a “sequester,” took effect March 1 when Congress was unable to agree on a way to avoid $1.2 trillion in automatic across-the-board spending cuts through 2021. The amount that must be cut from the current year’s budget is about $85 billion.

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