San Diego Fleet Week differs from other celebrations nationwide

Staggered by three years of revenue shortfalls, if San Diego’s Fleet Week wants to reinvent itself there are plenty of different celebrations nationwide that also honor the Navy.


San Franciso’s $1.3 million annual Fleet Week revolves around an acrobatic airshow and organizers prop up the bottom line with government grants.  In 2014, for example, Frisco’s events drew $385,000 from seven city and county agencies — enough to pay 39 percent of the bills, according to California and federal filings.

San Diego Fleet Week executive director Larry Blumberg said that his nonprofit never would compete with the Miramar Air Show presented by the Marine Corps every summer and local governments have not showered the foundation with grants. 

San Diego Fleet Week reported only $88,712 in combined government funding since 2004.  Those grants from San Diego, Coronado, Chula Vista and San Diego County paid slightly more than half of 1 percent of the nonprofit’s expenditures over a span of 15 years, according to state and federal filings.

Blumberg blamed part of the problem on agencies that consider every week a fleet week in a San Diego region dominated by the Navy and Marine Corps, but he believes local taxpayers deserve to visit a base and see the military they fund.  

“You can count the number of times on one hand the number of times a Navy ship over the past year has been open to the public in San Diego,” he said.  “Try…

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