JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – The world-famous U.S. Navy Blue Angels and other military and civilian aerobatic teams will take to the skies of Jacksonville Beach this weekend for the Sea and Sky Air Show.
The free event will also feature live entertainment, a street festival featuring static displays of aircraft and military vehicles, simulators, recruitment booths, Mini-Boss kids zone and more.
The Blue Angels are only one of many aerobatic acts, but the most famous, most prestigious and a guaranteed point of pride -- even for the pilots and their team.
"It's certainly an honor to be part of the team -- no matter what position you are in the team," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brandon Hempler, pilot of Blue Angel No. 5. "We are a team of 140 people."
The roar through the air of the F/A-18 Hornets at the beaches comes following extensive preparation on the ground.
"One team, one fight," said AZ1 Allon Floyd. "Everyone's job on the team is important and we have each other's backs."
Since 1946, the Blue Angels have flown for more than 505 million spectators. The Blue Angels perform from spring to fall and the estimate is that 11 million people see the squadron's exhibitions during those eight months. They also visit more than 50,000 people in schools, hospitals and community functions -- and they seem as thrilled as the spectators.
"It's a dream come true," Floyd said. "We come here. We perform. We give them what they want. We love to see smiles on kids' faces, adults' faces, everyone's faces. As long as everyone is smiling, hey, we know we're doing what we're supposed to be doing."
CUSTOM FORECAST: Weather for the Sea and Sky Air Show
The Geico Skytyper team's six WWII-era aircraft will wow crowds by performing a low-level, precision-flying demonstration featuring tactics and maneuvers designed by team members who served in the United States military. In addition to their air show performances, the team "skytypes" giant messages in the sky.
The event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday with air performances starting at noon. The Blue Angels are set to perform at 3 p.m.
Parking at Jacksonville Beach will be limited during the event so people were encouraged to take advantage of the park and ride shuttle at FSCJ South campus on Beach Boulevard but the city has notified the media that as of 11:40 a.m. the shuttle has been sold out for Saturday.
Parking is free on campus and the shuttle is $5 per person for a round-trip pass. The shuttle will drop off at the Beaches Museum near Beach Boulevard and 4th Street North. The event is a 0.3-mile walk from the shuttle stop.
VIP viewing is located in the Jacksonville Beach Pier parking lot. Available tickets can be purchased online at the VIP entrance: $25 for adults (ages 13 and up), $15 for children (ages 4-12) and children under 3 are free.
The Jacksonville Beach Police Department addressed some frequently asked questions about the event in a media release Wednesday:
May I bring lawn chairs or blankets?
Yes, you may bring your own lawn chairs and blankets, but just in case this is a spur of the moment decision, we've got you covered! You can take advantage of the Observation Deck presented by VyStar Credit Union in the Seawalk Pavilion lawn.
Can we bring pop up tents?
Yes, but keep in mind that there are other people around you. Tents are only permitted on the beach, not on streets, Latham Plaza, or the Seawalk Pavillion.
Are coolers allowed?
Only if you are outside of the event footprint. Coolers are not allowed in the event area, which stretches from Beach Boulevard to 6th Avenue North.
Are pets allowed?
Only if they are a certified service animal.
What other items are prohibited?
Outside food and beverages, coolers, glass containers, kites, balloons, motorized vehicles, bicycles, rollerblades, skateboards, weapons, drones, illicit drugs or drug paraphernalia.
Can I swim or surf in the ocean?
Yes, but swimmers are not permitted to go beyond 300 feet from shore.
Can I watch the show from my boat?
Will there be a clear bag policy?
There will not be a clear bag policy in effect but all items and persons are subject to inspection.
What traffic restrictions do I need to know?
There will be a few road closures and parking lot closures in effect during the event. First Street North from Beach Boulevard to 6th Avenue North will be closed Friday, Oct. 25, through Sunday, Oct. 27, from 9 a.m. to approximately 6 p.m. each day. The area of 1st Street between Latham Plaza and the Seawalk Pavilion will remain closed from Friday, Oct. 25, to Sunday, Oct. 27, and will not reopen each night.
For more information, including answers to more frequently asked questions and the show schedule, visit the Sea and Sky Air Show website.