|$1,600,000 IN PLANES AT MEET"|
Was it a Failure and Why?
Lack of attendance, of course, was the one contributor to the disappointment of Dayton people. For eight months, they had been living in the expectation that no less than 250,000 visitors would attend the air races. Enormous preparations were made to take care of this vast influx---"the greatest crowd that had ever attended an event in the middle west would be there," said the press. Hotels, rooming houses, apartments and thousands of private homes were listed in Dayton and surrounding towns and cities with a view to coping with a housing shortage. Not until noon of the last day did they give up hope that the 250,000 were not coming and that there was something radically wrong.
But with it all, the Dayton Air Races were not a "failure" nor will the fact that a record crowd did not attend detract from the general and lasting good it will accomplish for the city and aviation. Aeronautically, at least, the 1924 Air Races was in every way successful.
The Dayton Air Races have shown that the public no longer can be depended upon to attend ordinary air races as they are now conducted. The average spectator wants excitement, thrills, unusual stunts and a crash or two thrown in to make the Roman holiday more exhilarating and help give one his money's worth as a dollar general admission fee, and several additional greenbacks for a seat on a splintery 2x4 inch plank designated as "reserved box."
In the future it must be an air circus throughout with possibly a goodly assortment of country fair side shows to give rests to craning necks. Air Races can never again be expected to attract huge throngs from the masses, at least, in North America and any city, no matter how large it is, would be foolish to make the preparation instituted by Dayton in anticipation of this happy thought.