JONES BEACH, Nassau County (WABC) -- The Bethpage Air Show has once again kicked off the unofficial start of summer at Jones Beach on Long Island.
Organizers are pleased to welcome back the United States Air Force Thunderbirds as the headliners.
With excitement in the air, many hit the boardwalk Saturday to catch the dazzling 19th annual affair.
Just one day earlier, officials were gathered on the beach for a preview event, which culminated in a spectacular rehearsal that left onlookers on the ground awestruck.
Last year's air show practice, which was scheduled the day before the start of the air show, had to be cancelled due to thunderstorms.
This year, however, WABC Chief Meteorologist Lee Goldberg and the Eyewitness News weather team are forecasting clear skies throughout the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
Plenty of people were out Friday morning for that air show rehearsal, taking advantage of the first official beach day of summer.
A few people braved the chilly water while others carved out early spots for the show and remembered what this weekend is truly about.
Watch "Kickoff to a Long Island Summer" Saturday, May 27 at 7 p.m. on Channel 7 and wherever you stream ABC7NY.
"My husband is retired air force, so this is a very important event for us," said Cathryn Brucculeri of Kings Park. "It's a great family tradition that we do every year."
Asked how he feels when he sees those planes in the sky, Jim Brucculeri replied, "I get so excited, I miss it. But I smile... big smile on my face the entire time. I'm like a 3 year old."
By mid-afternoon, the crowds were actually lighter than expected, with less traffic.
But those who were there were as thrilled as ever.
"I think it's worse than a rollercoaster, but the G-forces are crazy!" said Jonathan Canada from Copiague.
WATCH: Chantee Lans flies with the Thunderbirds
The 2023 edition of the Bethpage Air Show takes place Saturday, May 27, and Sunday, May 28, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
In addition to the Thunderbirds, with their death-defying moves, many other groups will participate.
The U.S. Army Golden Knights will be landing on a very tiny spot on the beach.
"We're going to be landing right in the center of an 'X' that's black and orange, about the size of a dinner plate," said Sgt. F.C. Morgan George.
WABC-TV is a proud sponsor of this year's air show, and it will be featured in our 'Kickoff to a Long Island Summer' special.
Don't miss Eyewitness News anchors David Novarro, Sandra Bookman, Brittany Bell, and Chantee Lans capturing all the high-flying stunts on Saturday night at 7 p.m. on Channel 7 and wherever you stream ABC7NY.
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