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Miramar Air Show not canceled -- yet

Each year, the military shows off the fastest and most advanced aircraft in the world in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators at the annual Marine Corps Air Station Air Show in San Diego.

The 2013 air show scheduled for Oct. 4 to 6 could still go on as planned — even without those starring characters.

“At this point the Miramar Air Show is a go. As the air station commanding officer and his staff review all options for hosting the community, we are telling everyone to expect to come out,” said Lt. Chad Hill, MCAS Miramar media officer.

On Friday the Department of Defense rejected MCAS Miramar's request to retain military acts in the 2013 show, due to departmentwide budget cuts from sequestration.

"The DoD decision is disappointing because of the air show's longstanding tradition in the San Diego community," said Col. John Farnam, MCAS Miramar commanding officer, in a statement Friday.

More than 500,000 spectators flock to the MCAS Miramar show each year, making it one of San Diego's largest annual events.

Despite the missing military component, MCAS Miramar is exploring ideas to host the community on the installation this year and keep the show afloat.

The Blue Angels, the Navy's flight demonstration squadron, performs during the 2011 Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Air Show, Oct. 1, 2011. The Blue Angels performed stunts all three days of the air show. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Alexandra Vazquez

While military planes can’t perform air acrobatics, that doesn’t preclude other planes from taking flight and still conjuring “oohs” and “ahhs” from the crowd. That means civilian aircraft or foreign acts might be asked to participate in air demonstrations.

“[Or] there could be no air show, potentially," said 1st Lt. Melanie M. Salinas, a spokeswoman at MCAS Miramar.

The air show could transform into a ground show as a museum exhibit, of sorts, with static displays of aircraft squadrons — F-18s, Ospreys and helicopters — based at Miramar.

"Static displays are common at the Miramar Air Show, as they allow the local community to interact with the pilots and aircrew one-on-one in order to gain a better understanding of the capabilities of the aircraft, pilots and support personnel," Hill said.

“It’s quite robust,” Salinas said, of the installation’s aircraft offerings. "The commander is looking at all possible options."

Canceling the entire show is one of those options, she said. Officials said they are hoping for a decision in the next few weeks.

Letting sequestration slash entire air shows is the route some U.S. installations are taking. One is Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina, said Salinas, who recently transferred from nearby Parris Island.

“It's tough to give definitive answers until all options have been reviewed,” Hill said. “We do look forward to being able to host the community and provide the opportunity for everyone to interact with the Marines and sailors aboard the base."

Miramar's air show started deteriorating in April, when the U.S. Navy axed the remaining 2013 performances of its premiere Blue Angels flight demonstration squad.

At the time, Hill said he did not think that cancellation would affect air show attendance.

Despite the Friday news that all military air acts will be missing this year, guests have not been canceling their reservations at Staybridge Suites San Diego -- Sorrento Mesa for that early October weekend.

The 131-suite hotel, located north of the base and listed as one of the preferred hotels on Miramar's website, is almost all booked up during the air show and offering special rates from $160.65 per night.

"We have had no shift in business," said Ray Diaz, general manager, on Tuesday.

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