By Amye Anderson
UCBJ Managing Editor
SPARTA – After an estimated 150 aircraft and numerous spectators converged on the Upper Cumberland Regional Airport to view the total solar eclipse last August, airport manager Dean Selby has been busy planning the facility’s potentially next big attraction.
“I can’t get the moon to move again,” he told the UCBJ with a laugh.
While he may not be able to move the moon, Selby is hoping to bring a few stars to the airport — through a proposed three-day concert event.
In an effort to offer a new event to broaden the traditional airport audience, Selby is looking beyond the traditional every-other-year air show scene. While nothing is official just yet, Selby lights up as he shares some of his ideas.
A fly-in, camping, a mix of “well-known names” in country music and local bands on a professional stage, and vendors spread across three days — Thursday, Friday and Saturday — are all a part of the event that Selby has envisioned.
“Everybody’s thought it’s a great idea but it takes a lot of money to put something like that on,” Selby said.
Of course, he will need the approval of the airport’s board and funding. Selby says he’s already been in talks with a few potential sponsors though nothing has been confirmed just yet.
“We are working toward getting the funding together,” he told the UCBJ. “If I can get my sponsorship in place, then I’ll go back to the board with it and present it to them.”
In the meantime, the airport has a queue of nearly $1.4 million in improvement work lined up – more than $1.2 million of that is covered by federal and state funding. Planned/funded projects include airside pavement rehabilitation, runway approach lights, taxiway and directional lights, maintenance, and security enhancements.