The United States Navy Blue Angels will headline the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach on Memorial Day Weekend following a two-year absence, state parks officials announced this week.
They won’t be the only world-class military performers flying over Long Island this May. The state confirmed that the United States Army Golden Knights Parachute Team and the United States Navy Leap Frogs are also on tap to perform.
Budget cuts last year forced the military out of the air show. Instead, civilian pilots and the Canadian Air Force were called on to perform jaw-dropping twist and turns to make up for the U.S. military’s absence.
“We are happy to welcome back the United States Navy Blue Angels and all of the scheduled performers for what we anticipate to be one of our best air shows yet,” Rose Harvey, commissioner of New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said in a statement.
“It’s important each year to pay tribute to our nation’s past and present military,” he added, “and the Memorial Day holiday weekend allows us to do just that, as well as enjoy the company of family and friends and celebrate our nation’s freedom.”
Several notable civilian performers have also been added to this year’s lineup, including: American Airpower Museum Warbirds, GEICO Skytypers, Miss GEICO Speedboat, Sean D. Tucker of Team Oracle and Red Bull Air Force.
Scheduled to make its Jones Beach Air Show debut is the MV-22 Osprey, a tilt rotor aircraft with both a vertical takeoff and landing, officials said.
Attendance for last year’s event was down due to inclement weather which forced officials to cancel Saturday’s performances. Sunday’s show went on as scheduled but only 79,000 people attended. The annual event typically draws between 350,000 to 400,000 visitors.
The air show will be held May 24-May 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is free, but visitors will be charged a $10 parking fee.