Before I was hit by the frustrations of a recalcitrant laptop yesterday I was out seeing some of the preparations taking place for this weekend’s main event; The Sunderland International Airshow.
In contrast with other similar events (like the one at Farnborough that punctuated last weekend’s wedding with the drone of tortured engines) the airshow is funded by Sunderland City Council and is free of charge to all who come (which on a sunny day is likely to be in the hundreds of thousands).
If the weather conditions are good then the event is a great spectacle, but if the sky is full of rain clouds then even the Red Arrows have their work cut out to be entertaining.
The council’s reasons for funding the event (and I have no idea how much that runs to) is twofold; provide an entertaining event that puts Sunderland on the map, and in doing so provide opportunities for local businesses to benefit from the human traffic that it generates.
To begin with there are the show people who arrive with rides that will provide the thrills of speed and altitude to those who aren’t performing in the show, and these are certainly fairly local. Chances are that those providing some of the infrastructure for the day are local suppliers too,
but the economic benefits clearly spread further than the North East.
Keeping so many people supplied with food and drink is a very lucrative opportunity, so I wasn’t surprised to see a bar being prepared. I was surprised to see how far it had come however. Walking around behind it I could understand why though, it wasn’t just a bar, but a pub on wheels, with a room behind with chairs and tables! There can’t be many of these in the country never mind Sunderland.
Just then a girl who was helping with the preparation of the bar appeared, and agreed to be my portrait of the day, but despite my shooting several attempts, she was determined to squint her eyes to virtually closed, and because of her glasses I didn’t notice, so despite her great smile the picture doesn’t do her justice. Sorry.
She told me her name was Annie, but it’s probably Anica or Ana as she’s Romanian. Now that is spreading the wealth.