JOHNS BEACH, Nassau County (WABC) — The Bethpage Air Show will once again kick off the unofficial start of summer at Jones Beach on Long Island.

Organizers are delighted to welcome back the US Air Force Thunderbirds as headliners.

Officials gathered on the beach on Friday morning under crystal clear skies for a preview of the event, shortly after a spectacular rehearsal that left the audience in awe.

Watch “Kickoff to a Long Island Summer” Saturday, May 27 at 7:00 PM on Channel 7 and wherever you watch ABC7NY.

Last year’s air show practicewhich was scheduled for the day before the start of the air show, had to be canceled due to a thunderstorm.

This year, however, WABC Chief Meteorologist Lee Goldberg and the Eyewitness News Weather Team clear skies are forecast over the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

A large crowd gathered Friday morning for the airshow rehearsal, taking advantage of the first official beach day of the summer.

A few braved the cold water, while others staked out early seats for the show and remembered what this weekend was really about.

“My husband is retired from the Air Force, so this is a very special event for us,” said Kathryn Bruculeri of Kings Park. – This is a great family tradition that we perform every year.

When asked how he feels when he sees these planes in the sky, Jim Bruculeri said: “I’m very excited, I miss it. But I’m smiling… a big smile on my face all the time. I’m like a 3-year-old.”

By mid-afternoon, the crowd was smaller than expected with less traffic.

But those who were there were more excited than ever.

“I think it’s worse than a roller coaster, but the G-forces are crazy!” said Jonathan Canada of Copiague.

WATCH: Chantee Lans flies with the Thunderbirds

The 2023 Bethpage Air Show will be held on Saturday, May 27 and Sunday, May 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In addition to the Thunderbirds, with their deadly moves, there will be many other groups involved.

The US Army Golden Knights land on a very small spot on the beach.

“We’re going to land right in the center of the black and orange ‘X’ the size of a dinner plate,” said Sgt. FC Morgan George.

WABC-TV is a proud sponsor of this year’s air show and will be featured in our The Long Island Summer Kickoff Special..

Don’t miss Eyewitness News anchors David Novara, Sandra Bookman, Brittany Bell and Chanti Lance filming all the high-flying stunts Saturday nights at 7pm on Channel 7 and wherever you tune ABC7NY.


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