Bethpage Air Show 2024 kicks off the unofficial start of summer at Jones Beach

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Saturday, May 25, 2024
Bethpage Air Show returns to Jones Beach
Chantee Lans is live at Jones Beach as people arrive ahead of day one of the Bethpage Air Show.

JONES BEACH, Nassau County (WABC) -- The Bethpage Air Show kicked off the unofficial start of summer on Saturday at Jones Beach on Long Island!

The 2024 Bethpage Air Show takes place on Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. each day.

According to an event official, all Jones Beach parking fields were full and closed by 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Organizers were pleased to welcome back the United States Navy Blue Angels as the headliners and to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Bethpage Air Show.

WATCH our "Kickoff to a Long Island Summer" special. Watch it on Saturday, May 25th at 7 p.m. - on Channel 7 and wherever you stream ABC7NY!

Officials say thousands came to watch day one of the Bethpage Air Show, with hundreds picking their spots in the sand early morning ahead of the action.

10-year-old Logan Wheatley was one of the many who showed up to Jones Beach for the show. He is on his own mission to fly his own aircraft one day.

"I feel so excited because I really want to be a pilot when I grow up and I want to see the planes fly," he said.

From the air to the water, some found the warm temperatures and sun to be the perfect opportunity to take a swim.

"The water is freezing, but it's fun, they're having a great time," said Laura Delcelly, as her kids played on the beach.

For some people, the show has an even deeper meaning.

"Me and my husband, who's not here, we are both air force veterans. So, we come every year to support and honor our fallen and just the memory of them" said Tamika Hernandez.

A record-breaking 106,000 spectators gathered on Friday to watch the practice run of the show.

Some whipped out their cell phones to record scenes of their first airshow visit. Others appeared to be seasoned pros.

It was a similar - though cloudier - scene on Thursday, as more fans gathered to watch the Blue Angels arrive in our area for the weekend festivities. Eight fighter jets arrived at Republic Airport in Farmingdale.

"One formation and then they landed, it was really cool," said 13-year-old Dylan McCue.

Great River resident Matthew Judge was not as lucky when watching.

"Weather wise, it was a little tough. I barely got a video of them on my phone," Judge said.

Seventeen officers, the real rockstars, were greeted warmly in Farmingdale, with big signs.

"It says, 'We love the USA, and we love how the Blue Angels fly,'" said Lianna Salengna of Syosset.

MORE: Organizers reflect on past, future of Bethpage Air Show on 20th anniversary

Michelle Charlesworth has more on the Bethpage Air Shows 20th anniversary.

Becoming a U.S. Navy Blue Angel is no easy feat.

"The interviews, some strength and conditioning tests and then some of us are the lucky, fortunate that get selected," said Blue Angel Commander Thomas Zimmerman.

"It's a humbling experience because those are big shoes to fill for those who came before me in this job," said Lt. Commander Griffin Stangel. "I just want to make them proud but also we're not that different from everybody else. We just made a decision to work hard and try to be a little bit better than we were the day before."

Blue Angels No. 7 crew chief Cody Farrell, who is from Mastic Beach, says he remembers seeing the show as a kid.

"Actually being a part of the team and being able to be a part of the show is absolutely surreal," he said.

The true meaning behind the show will always run deep.

"My grandfather from both sides, from my mom and dad, they were both Navy veterans," said Matthew Judge of Great River.

"It's Memorial Day. It's a time to remember our veterans and people that have served our country and this is what the Blue Angels are all about," said Mark Dillon of Patchogue.

WATCH: Brittany Bell twists and turns through the air in fly-along with the Blue Angels

Brittany Bell has more from Farmingdale's Republic Airport.

Also back again is the Bethpage Air Show Mobile App. Text 'Airshow' to 516-842-4400 to download the app for performer and sponsor information, a site map, helpful FAQs to prepare you for the show, and more to come!

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.

Watch it on Saturday, May 25th at 7 p.m. - on Channel 7 and wherever you stream ABC7NY!


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* Follow us on YouTube

* More local news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.