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Blue Angels prepare for weekend air show

Blue Angels prepare for weekend air show

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -The most recognizable features of this weekend’s air show at the beaches have arrived in town and were practicing Friday.
After a brief delay in getting to Northeast Florida from Hawaii, the
Blue Angels were in the air Friday and are ready to put on a show
Saturday and Sunday.
“The team, I can tell you, we love flying
along the beach and over beach towns that want us there. Jacksonville
surely is a part of that,” Blue Angels pilot Lt. Cmdr. Nate Barton said.
“Jacksonville is a place where there’s a lot of military, a lot of
Navy. That’s really special for us.”
Barton, the pilot of Jet 4, which flies in the slot — or the back of
the diamond formation — said that what spectators see in the sky is
something that takes practice two to three times a day, six days a week
to accomplish.

LINK: Full schedule of performers, times

“We advertise that we fly 18 inches apart. I’ll tell you that we
actually will fly 18 inches apart,” Barton said. “If it’s smooth up
there, we may even get a little bit closer than that.”
Barton, whose call sign is Villi, said he loves the joy that fans get from air shows.
“I
came from flying gray airplanes off gray aircraft carriers, and I’m
going to go back into that,” Barton said. “So being a Blue Angel pilot
is simply being a representative for those 500,000 active-duty sailors
and Marines who are deployed around the world right now, some in harm’s
way.”
News4Jax found out there are plenty of restrictions
patrons should be aware of before they go. Starting with boaters, who
won’t be able to come within 500 yards of any U.S. naval vessel and
people will have to proceed as directed by the commanding officer of the
vessel.
Pete Tamayo said he was inconvenienced Friday, while the Sea and Sky crew held a practice run in Jacksonville Beach.
“I
had to go around all the way on Third Street which is not
skateboard-friendly. The sidewalks are all falling apart– not exactly
smooth– and you can’t go on the road so Third Street is heavy traffic
always,” said Tamayo. “When you’re trying to go through you have to
leave your board. You can’t even walk through with it in your hand, so
it kind of gets in the way of traveling a little bit.”
And the
restriction of skateboards is just one of many in the event area.
According to the city, no drones, coolers, picnic baskets, backpacks,
food or beverages will be allowed. Nor will pets, rollerblades or
bicycles inside the barricades.
News4Jax spoke to residents about the restrictions and some of them said they weren’t fair.
“There’s
a lot of families like us who have to drive down here to bring our kids
to the air show, the events. And the fact that we have to pay $10 to
park in the beach that we live at and we’re already supporting, I think
it should be more for people who are out of town to have to pay the
parking,” Joseph Powers said.
Powers lives in Neptune Beach
and often bikes to Jacksonville Beach. This weekend he’ll have to drive
and pay to park, but he said he’s excited to see the show.
“Any good revenue for the beaches and good exposure is a great thing and it’s awesome having their air show,” said Powers.
The
Sea and Sky Spectacular runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and
Sunday. The Blue Angels perform just before 3 p.m. each day.
The
Military Recruitment Zone will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m inside
Latham Plaza. Booths include the Navy, Air Force, Army, Marine Corps,
Air National Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office
and Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department.
Visitors can
also meet and get autographs from some of their favorite air show
performers from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. There will be a
kid’s zone from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday that includes
inflatable bounce houses, photo booths, a 24-foot fun slide, obstacle
courses, a mechanical surfboard, giant checkers and more.
Because
of limited parking, The City of Jacksonville there will be offering a
complimentary shuttle service from the Florida State College South
Campus on Beach Boulevard. The shuttle to the event is free, but parking
is $10 per car. Shuttles will run from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday
and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
And if you’re going to be at
the beach for any reason during the air show, swimming, surfing and
wading in the ocean will not be allowed between Myra Street in Neptune
Beach and 32nd Avenue South in Jacksonville Beach.

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