THUNDER OVER THE BOARDWALK
Wednesday, August 20th, the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa will present the fifth annual air show on the beach in Atlantic City.
One of the first air shows in America was the ten day Atlantic City Air Carnival in July 1910. The planes landed and took off from the beach. There hadn't been an air show in Atlantic City for more than ten years until the Borgata presented its first air show to commemorate the 100th anniversary of powered flight in August 2003. In its second year, 200,000 attended the air show, and last year the estimate was 600,00. This has become the largest attended beach front air show in the country, second only to the one in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in May. There are also hundreds of boaters watching the show from the Atlantic Ocean. The typical air show uses a runway approximately 2 miles long. The Atlantic City beach is 4 miles long, and the show is free. The beach is also free, and people may bring coolers and chairs, or rent them, or rent a cabana in a beach bar.
The show starts at 10:30am, and throughout the day spectators will see skydivers and fighter jets performing a variety of stunts. The skydivers perform in front of the historic Boardwalk Hall, next to Trump Plaza, but the old bombers and fighter jets can be viewed from Brigantine (5 miles north of Atlantic City) to Ocean City (south of Atlantic City). This year, approximately 36 groups will be performing, 5-15 minutes apart, until 4pm.
All branches of the U.S. Military are represented as well as civilian aerobatic acts. There is precision formation flying, solo routines, aerial acrobatics, and sky divers. The show traditionally starts with the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team carrying the American flag, and the National Anthem. An annual favorite is the U.S. Air Force Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, performing precision maneuvers and solo routines. The U.S. Navy's Blue Angels also sometimes perform.
A program or flight schedule can be obtained from local newspapers. A radio announcer on AM1400 also notifies which aircraft are approaching. Parking is available in the casino hotels as well as 12 non-casino parking lots. However, one should arrive early as the lots fill up quickly, and the Atlantic City Expressway has cars bumper to bumper as the morning progresses. One year when we were at the show, some dealers couldn't find parking, and the casinos were unable to open some table games. People should remember to bring cameras, binoculars, sunscreen, snacks, water, sunglasses, hats, and bathing suits.
Atlantic City is a wonderful place for an air show with beach, sand, and ocean swimming. The Boardwalk is full of people walking, shopping, riding "Boardwalk Rollers," or taking rides and playing games on the amusement pier. When you want to escape the heat, there are the gourmet restaurants in the casinos, as well as plenty of fast food store fronts.