Cleveland: Air Show, new downtown boost each other

6:43 PM, Aug 31, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland National Air Show weekend will get a boost from the new life in downtown Cleveland.

The air show has been a predictable drawing card for downtown Cleveland since 1964.

A new economic impact study show it pumps $7.1 million into the region's economy as 60,000 to 100,000 people a year visit the show and 35 percent of them are from out of Northeast Ohio, more than 50 miles away.

The Pontillo brothers, from Erie, Pennsylvania, were visiting Friday to watch the U.S. Navy Blue Angels practice.

Ralph Pontillo said, "We're here to watch the air show and just have a good time in Cleveland."

His brother Mario said, "It's a great spot, right off I-90, and easy to get to from Erie. We enjoy coming to Cleveland."

The Pontillo brothers claim they go back home and say nice things about what's happening in Cleveland.

And those are the kinds of visitors the group Positively Cleveland loves to hear about.

A new casino, new restauarants and new level of energy downtown don't always come across in paid ads.

Positively Cleveland's David Gilbert says word of mouth from visitors, as well as Cleveland residents, together is the most used and most valuable promotional tool.

"If you can get that number of people to tell their friends and family what's happening in Cleveland, that's better than any money we can spend," he says.

Chuck Newcomb, the director of the Cleveland National Air Show,  is glad to have the dependable event enhance the new downtown and vice versa.

"It helps. They play off each other and it becomes a bigger weekend if more people come in," he said.

On another subject, Newcomb said proposed lakefront development should not interfere with the future of the Air Show at Burke Airport.


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