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Air show lands new management

Posted: Tuesday, Dec 4th, 2012

WATSONVILLE — The 48-year-old Watsonville Fly-In and Air Show is under new management, and will get a new look and a new name for the 2013 event.

New manager Mike Hennessy is an automobile repair shop owner-turned promoter who, among other things, runs the Hot San Jose Nights car show and the Car Guy Channel, an automobile-based public access show that runs throughout the Bay Area.

Hennessy will be running the show along with his wife, Susan Hennessy.

He said his fondness for Watsonville and a desire to relocate here coupled with his promotional skills, compelled him to breathe fresh life into the event, which has seen a decline in the faltering economy.

Hennessy said he wants to boost attendance to the popular Watsonville event with a massive advertising blitz designed to turn Watsonville into a tourist draw.

“Here is an event that has been going on for 48 years and a lot of events need to be refreshed,” he said.

In addition to the weekend air show, Hennessy plans to add an automotive and aviation swap meet, a Richie Valens tribute show, a carnival, cooking demonstrations, a zip line and a Friday night drive-in movie, among other things.

Hennessy said his fresh approach to the Fly-In also includes an expanded classic car and train show that has inspired the event’s new name, “Watsonville Fly In, Trains Planes & Automobiles.”

The car portion of the show will include such luxury and classic cars as a 2013 McClaren, a Callaway Corvette and an Austin Martin. The show will also feature high-end cars by Watsonville car dealers.

More than 160 cars have already been signed up, Hennessy said.

“This is really about getting families to come,” he said. “I’m trying to cover everything for everybody.”

In retooling the Fly-In, Hennessy said he wants to look beyond the economic woes that have plagued the show.

“Some people look at rain and see rain, but I look at it and see a rainbow,” he said.

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