The Fourth of July may be over, but patriotic spirit will still be flying high when the Blue Angels take to the skies this weekend.
Thousands gather every year to see the U.S. Navy’s elite flight demonstration squadron perform at its annual Pensacola Beach Air Show. The group — often referred to as the “Blues” — was founded in 1946, and Naval Air Station Pensacola is its home base.
The Blue Angels are renowned for their aerial maneuvers and precision. The Pensacola Beach Air Show is the ideal way in which to honor and show pride for the Blue Angels and Pensacola, the “Cradle of Naval Aviation.”
The Southeast Tourism Society named the Pensacola Beach Air Show as an STS Top 20 Event in the Southeast for May 2017. This year’s air show is Saturday over Santa Rosa Island, 15 minutes from downtown Pensacola and a half-hour from the Navy base.
A variety of events leading up to the show took place earlier this week. Today, visitors will get another chance to witness the Blues’ exhilarating, high-speed stunts during a practice run scheduled for 2 p.m. Dress rehearsal for the airshow’s civilian acts will start at noon.
The official 2017 Pensacola Beach Air Show will begin at noon Saturday.
The air show line-up includes the Veterans Flight crew flying their World War II-era Stearmans; Julian MacQueen flying his Grunman Widgeon G-44 amphibious plane; the U.S. Navy Seal LEAP Frogs; the Redline Sports Team flying RV-8 speed demons; Gary Ward flying the MX2, an unlimited aerobatic aircraft that spins and rotates at high speeds; Kevin Coleman flying a one-of-a-kind Extra 300SHP; and Skip Stewart flying Prometheus, a biplane that roars and races.
As always, Fat Albert, a C-130 Hercules that flies support for the Blue Angels, will kick off the official Blue Angels performance at 2 p.m.
Transportation & Parking
The Santa Rosa Island Authority will alleviate traffic congestion for the Pensacola Beach Air Show by adding 10 more buses to the schedule during the weekend in addition to the three, free open-air trolleys already servicing the beach daily
Service will begin today at 9 a.m. and Saturday at 6 a.m. Eight buses will depart from Park West, located at lot 21N on Fort Pickens Road before the entrance to the park. Five buses will depart from Park East, located at lot 29.5 on Via De Luna Drive just east of the Portofino Resort towers. Both routes will travel back and forth to Casino Beach all day.
The three open-air trolleys will resume normal operations again at 5 p.m., and the busing services will end at 6 p.m. today and on Saturday.
Santa Rosa Island Authority provides the free trolleys, and Escambia County Area Transit does the driving. For more information, visit visitpensacolabeach.com/trolley-information.