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Blue Angels wow crowds at Sea and Sky Air Show

Shuttle parking sold out for free event Saturday

Parking issues plague the Sea and Sky air show, but the show goes on with elite flying teams entertaining thousands at the Beaches.

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – The U.S. Navy Blue Angels roared across the sky in perfect formation Saturday above Jacksonville's packed beaches as the highlight of the Sea and Sky Air Show. 

Thousands enjoyed seeing the slick maneuvers and precision of the elite flying team along with other military and civilian aerobatic teams.

The Blue Angels took to the skies about 30 minutes later than planned but came flying in on a rainbow on a day with scattered showers around town.

There were so many people who came out to see the show that the shuttles offered to help ease the parking crunch were shut down because they were full before noon Saturday. Everyone seemed to be in awe of what they saw.

"You know that these guys are putting their lives on the line every time. (I) love the sound, love the sound," said one bystander.

Some people at the beach saw the Blue Angels for the first time and said they did not disappoint.

"I’ve never seen it before, and I like the Blue Angels. I think they’re cool.  I hadn’t seen them in person yet," spectator Will Halstead said. "It’s probably pretty hard because they have to practice this a lot. Just to master it completely, and if you mess up, there’s not a lot of room for mistakes."

The free event continues Sunday and features live entertainment, a street festival featuring displays of aircraft and military vehicles, simulators, recruitment booths, a Mini-Boss kids zone and more.

Since 1946, the Blue Angels have flown for more than 505 million spectators. The Blue Angels perform from spring to fall, and the Navy estimates 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.

This year's Sea and Sky Air Show will also feature a rare air-sea duel. Two Geico Skytyper planes will challenge the Miss Geico superboat in a pair of races along the shoreline of Jacksonville Beach.

The Geico Skytyper team’s six World War II-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. again 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 remember the shuttle sold out just after 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

Parking is free on campus, and the shuttle is $5 per person for a round-trip pass. The shuttle will drop off passengers at the Beaches Museum near Beach Boulevard and Fourth 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 and are $25 for adults (ages 13 and up), $15 for children (ages 4-12) and free for children under 3.

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WATCH: Vic Micolucci takes flight with the Geico Skytypers

Below are some frequently asked questions answered by the Jacksonville Beach Police Department: 

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?

Yes.

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 through Sunday from 9 a.m. to approximately 6 p.m. The area of 1st Street between Latham Plaza and the Seawalk Pavilion will remain closed to Sunday and will not reopen at night. 

For more information, including answers to more frequently asked questions and the show schedule, visit the Sea and Sky Air Show website.