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Jones Beach Kicks Off Memorial Day Weekend With Air Show Rehearsal

WANTAGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — If you’re a fan of summer fun, blue skies and the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, this is going to be your kind of weekend.

Officials kicked off their 13th annual air show at Long Island’s Jones Beach on Friday, as weekend travelers began to head out east for the long Memorial Day holiday.

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Crowds got a jump on this long-awaited beach weekend with prime viewing for the air show dress rehearsal, which previewed all the excitement for what’s to come on Saturday and Sunday.

“They make me smile when I hear them,” 7-year-old Tristan Owen told CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff. “They’re super loud, too.”

The Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach attracts a quarter million visitors each day to celebrate the beginning of summer and honor those who serve our country.

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“There’s nothing better,” said Cheryl Wadworth. “I grew up on Long Island. Jones Beach, I’ve been coming since I’m a kid.”

“This is the greatest country on the planet, and I feel a little safer when I see sometimes the ability of these types of jets,” said Rob Bender, an air show visitor.

Said John Pagonis, an Air Force Desert Storm veteran. “These guys are still all my heroes.”

This year’s show features the U.S Navy Blue Angels, the Golden Knights U.S. Army parachute team, the Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds and the French Breitling Jet Team.

According to stunt pilot Sean D. Tucker, practice makes perfect when it comes to preparing for the annual show.

“I practice around 500 times a year during the season to make sure that I could do it with excellence and with margins of safety, ” Tucker told 1010 WINS. ” … It’s the real deal.”

For others participating, the event is also about honoring our men and women in service.

“As a Frenchman, I remember that a lot of young American guys came in 1944 for D-Day and lost their lives to free our country,” said Jaques Bothelin, a Breitling jet pilot. “And I know that I owe them my freedom.”

The Blue Angels, who bill themselves as the world’s oldest and most renowned flight demonstration team, suspended air shows in 2013 because of federal budget cuts.

Thousands are expected to pack the beach for the air show, which is being held Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Beachgoers will also get their first look at $36 million in improvements at Jones Beach State Park.

For directions and more visit, bethpageairshow.com.

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