Bethpage Air Show takes flight on Memorial Day
JONES BEACH, Long Island (WABC) -- The 2021 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach delighted Memorial Day crowds for the first time ever on Monday.
Weekend rain washed out the planned shows on Saturday and Sunday for the first time in its 17-year history, so the organizers held a special show for the holiday.
The United States Air Force Thunderbirds, one of the event's biggest draws, closed out Monday's show with a dazzling performance.
"I'm tremendously grateful for all the partners, performers, and staff who are pulling together to make Monday's show happen," said State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid. "We're excited for the traditional summer season at Jones Beach, starting with the Bethpage Air Show."
George Gorman, Long Island Regional Director of the New York State Parks, said the Monday date for the air show became a reality after the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds agreed to perform on Monday.
"All of the agencies involved, without a hesitation, they said, 'Yes, we will be there - same commitment, same resources,'" Gorman said.
Gorman said those with Air Traffic Control at JFK Airport, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration, immediately approved the new date.
Performers included the Thunderbirds, the United States Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt (Warthog), Golden Knights, GEICO Skytypers, Mike Goulian, David Windmiller and others.
To accommodate a 3-hour show instead of a typical 5-hour show, fewer performers participated.
Parking passes from the Saturday and Sunday canceled shows were honored, as well as the passes for health care heroes and General Admission tickets as well.
Show organizers didn't think they would get close to 50 percent capacity.
The weather may have helped with that. Although there were peaks of sunshine, it was still a bit chilly.
New York State Parks officials estimate that 61,000 people attended the air show.
People wore many more layers than they're used to on Memorial Day.
"(We were) supposed to come on Saturday but obviously it got rained out. But that's ok. We're coming today. It's freezing and we'll have fun," Laurie Schour of Franklin Square said.
Last year's show was canceled due to the pandemic.
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