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The 2020 DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase (DSAS) is being rescheduled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials at the DeLand Municipal Airport had hoped to continue on with the annual showcase as scheduled Nov. 12-14 to help salvage the embattled trade-show industry, but it became increasingly apparent that the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Florida would make the event unsafe at this time for guests, exhibitors and volunteers.

Jana Filip, DeLand Municipal Airport’s sport aviation administrator, is crestfallen.

“Preparations have been running along so well, exhibitor participation was setting a record pace, and we had such high hopes for November,” Filip said. “But… over the last few weeks, the COVID-19 situation in Florida has been so terribly negative, and we really must think first of the health and well-being of our visitors, exhibitors, volunteers, other guests and the staff of DSAS and the City of DeLand, itself.”

The city and county have been watching the COVID-19 situation with great scrutiny, resulting in the decision by the City of DeLand to cancel all local events through the end of November as a result of health concerns related to the pandemic.

DSAS is but the most recent aviation event to have to give way to such concerns. The annual Sun ’n Fun event in Lakeland was postponed and then canceled. The mighty EAA AirVenture gathering in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the world’s biggest, has been put off to the summer of 2021, and both NBAA 2020 and AUVSI 2020 trade-show events have either been canceled or forced to go “virtual.”

Unlike most other aviation events, however, DSAS is still planning to produce a world-class sport aviation event as soon as circumstances allow — hopefully in late January 2021, a date already suggested by several fans of the showcase.

“We’re studying everything very carefully, and will have more to say shortly,” Filip said, “but until we have more positive data to work with, we’re going to study our options carefully until a healthy solution presents itself.”

The next showcase will build on the extensive work done in four successful prior events. A careful look at the 2019 ticket sales, gate receipts, exhibitor numbers and other data proved that DSAS19 reported $2 million in sales and services on the Showcase Field, with an economic impact to the community of more than $1.5 million.

DSAS staff will provide an update as soon as more data is available.

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