Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Blue Skies in Jacksonville Beach Tens of Thousands Expected for Show with Navy Planes

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Blue Skies in Jacksonville Beach Tens of Thousands Expected for Show with Navy Planes

Article excerpt

Byline: Roger Bull, Times-Union staff writer

It's a good time to feel patriotic. The skies over Jacksonville Beach will fill with aircraft this weekend -- Navy jets showing the power and precision of today's military, antique and custom aircraft going through their barrel rolls, just for the fun of it.

And, yes, the Blue Angels will be at the Jacksonville Sea & Sky Spectacular this weekend, along with tens of thousands of people.

Organizers had originally planned to divide the activities between three areas: The Jacksonville Landing, Mayport Naval Station and Jacksonville Beach. But because of security issues after the Sept. 11 attacks, all events were moved to Jacksonville Beach. It will take place at and around the SeaWalk Pavilion and along the beach nearby.

The festival will begin with a practice run-through today and a concert tonight featuring The Swingin' Medallions. The South Carolina band had a couple of big hits in the 1960s -- including Double Shot (of My Baby's Love) -- and has been touring ever since.

The event will really get under way tomorrow at 10 a.m. with a continuous show in the skies over the beach and ocean. The Blue Angels, the Navy's precision jet team, are tentatively scheduled to perform at 2:40. (Times can always change, and they don't fly in bad weather.) By the way, the Blue Angels' first air show was at Jacksonville's Craig Field in 1946.

Food and beverage vendors will line the area, where you'll also find a display of military aircraft and vehicles, simulators and a Marine obstacle course. They'll be set up in Latham Plaza, the parking lot next to it and along First Street from Beach Boulevard to Fifth Avenue North. Crowds of 50,000 to 100,000 are expected each day, so expect lots of traffic.

The city parking lots along First Street -- one at Beach Boulevard and one at Third Avenue North -- will be closed. Instead, parking will available off-site . . . way off-site. Parking lots will be open near the Tournament Players Club, just west of Florida A1A on County Road 210; on the northwest corner of Atlantic Boulevard and San Pablo Road; and at American Heritage Life, just off J. Turner Butler Boulevard at San Pablo Road.

The lots will be open from 8 a.m. until midnight tomorrow and 8 a. …

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