Entertainment

Thousands Expected At Jones Beach For Memorial Day Weekend, Air Show

A member of the Blue Angels talks about the upcoming Jones Beach Air Show - May 25, 2012 (credit: Sophia Hall / WCBS 880)

A member of the Blue Angels talks about the upcoming Jones Beach Air Show – May 25, 2012 (credit: Sophia Hall / WCBS 880)

WANTAGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - A whopping 350,000 people are expected at Jones Beach for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.

Along with the sand, the water, the shopping, and the ice cream on the boardwalk, there is the famous Bethpage Air Show.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall On The Story

“It’s an outstanding line-up. It’s a full air show. We had to actually turn performers away because we didn’t have any room for them,” George Gorman of the New York State Parks Department. “The United States Navy Blue Angels are headlining along with the Canadian Forces Snowbirds.”

WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman With The Blue Angels At Republic Airport

The Blue Angels aren’t just the fighter jets, but also their support team – including the C-130 cargo jet “Fat Albert.”

“I didn’t even know I wanted to fly until I was 29 years old. I worked in television,” Fat Albert Captain John Hecker told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman on Friday. “and they said ‘Hey, you want to fly?’ and I said ‘sure.'”

Blue Angels Captains Ben Blanton and John Hecker at Republic Airport - May 25, 2012 (credit: Alex Silverman / WCBS 880)

Blue Angels Captains Ben Blanton and John Hecker at Republic Airport – May 25, 2012 (credit: Alex Silverman / WCBS 880)

Hecker was wearing the royal blue and gold flight suit of the Blue Angels, a uniform that hasn’t changed a whole lot since the squadron’s first show in the 1940s.

Today, Hecker flew Fat Albert’s understudy, nicknamed Ernie. The plane has plenty tricks of its own.

The Blue Angels support plane "Ernie" is seen at Republic Airport - May 25, 2012 (credit: Alex Silverman / WCBS 880)

The Blue Angels support plane “Ernie” is seen at Republic Airport – May 25, 2012 (credit: Alex Silverman / WCBS 880)

“This is probably America’s best rollercoaster ride. We get down to 60 feet. People are just shoc ked,” he said.

The Blue Angels haven’t been able to practice much because of the fog but Lt. Cmdr. Todd Royles said they’re all ready to go.

“We love coming back to Jones Beach,” Royles told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera. “This is one of the premier show sites in the air show industry, you can’t ask for anything better.”

peter liggieri Thousands Expected At Jones Beach For Memorial Day Weekend, Air Show

Capt. Peter Liggieri (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

Also on the schedule for the air show is the Army’s Golden Knights parachute team and the US Airforce’s F-22 Raptor — which will be piloted by Garden City native Capt. Peter Liggieri.

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports

“It’s great to be home back on Long Island,” Liggieri said. “It’s also great to be home and get to bring the F-22 out to the show.”

The air show is on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For details, click here.

The Air Show practice session over Jones Beach was officially cancelled Friday due to persistent foggy conditions, Rivera reported.

There will also be some much needed renovations coming to Jones Beach this summer.

“The west bathhouse is going to receive nearly $9 million to refurbish it,” Gorman said. “It needs it, with a lot of leaks, a lot of problems that have to be addressed. So, that’s a great thing for state parks.”

What’s the best thing about Jones Beach? Sound off in the comments section below.