STEWART AIRPORT – The New York Air Show’s got a brand new date and a brand new headliner: the Blue Angels.
The famous U.S. Navy-Marine Corps flying team, the biggest draw of them all, announced on its Facebook and Twitter accounts late Tuesday that it had added the July 1-2 show at Stewart International Airport to its performance schedule.
Chris Dirato, a spokesman for the air show, confirmed shortly afterward that the two-day event was being moved forward from Sept. 9-10 to accommodate the Blue Angels.
“This is gonna big great, this is huge,” exclaimed Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus after the announcement. “I’m ecstatic!”
The Air Force Thunderbirds performed before huge crowds at last year’s air show.
Neuhaus, perhaps the air show’s biggest promoter and fan, said he had joined B. Lilley Productions and Port Authority representatives at a Blue Angels performance in Atlantic City two years ago – days after the first Stewart event – to lobby the team to appear in Orange County.
The new dates coincide with the start of Norwegian Air’s low-cost fares between Stewart and Ireland, North Ireland and Scotland, but Neuhaus said the Port Authority is already factoring in how both events can be accommodated.
“They’re going to make it work and the county is going to do everything it can to help,” Neuhaus said. “We intend to be on hand regardless to welcome Norwegian passengers.”
The team, dedicated to displaying the pride and professionalism of the Navy and Marine Corps, has performed before 500 million fans since it was founded in 1946. It is based at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla., and spends the winter months at another Navy base in El Centro, Calif., preparing for the show season.