Update: video, photo gallery of 2011 Airshow. The Atlantic City Air Show - Thunder Over the Boardwalk - returns Wednesday, Aug. 17. Find parking info, air show schedule and more in this week's cover story.
Air showATLANTIC CITY — There are a lot of things you can expect to see while walking the Boardwalk in Atlantic City in August.
Tanning bodies on the beach, crowds of tourists lining up at the beach bars, and rolling chairs playing chicken with strollers. But for one Wednesday in the middle of the month, to see the action, you have to look up.
You see, the sky will be filled with planes — lots and lots of planes.
In its ninth year, The Atlantic City Thunder Over the Boardwalk Air Show will fill the city’s skylines with jets, stunt planes and parachuters on Wednesday, Aug. 17, all capped off by a performance from the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds precision flying team, which has become the air show’s steady headliner each year.
A crowd estimated at 650,000 will line the boards (as well as the beaches of Brigantine and Ventnor) to see the show, which has become as much of a summer staple in the city as salt water taffy and cheesesteaks.
And like other great Atlantic City traditions such as the Miss America Pageant (well, at one time) and chickens that play tic-tac-toe, it all started as a simple marketing scheme to bring in more tourists.
Now, it’s the largest summer event the city throws.
“After nine years, it really has become an economic engine for the area,” says Joe Kelly, president of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce, which produces the show along with a number of other agencies. “We hear from Boardwalk merchants that this is the single best day of business for them for the entire summer. And really, it was just part of an effort to bring something to the city in the middle of the week. That’s when we need to attract business. And now it’s become an attraction for really the whole week, especially the early part of the week.”
Of course that kind of success requires more than just a show. You need a really good show.
The air show will fill the resort’s skies for a solid five hours. It starts with the peaceful floating of the Horizon Blue Cross Blimp at 10:30am, moves onto jets and planes screaming by followed by an onslaught of parachute teams — including the U.S. Army’s Golden Knights, another consistent air show headliner — and then onto stunt planes and air rescue demonstrations and skywriters and so on until the Thunderbirds.
A mix of military and civilian craft includes performances by the New Jersey Air National Guard, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy, Marines and Air Force as well as performances by groups such as the Geico Sky Typers and a slew of civilian pilots and aerobatic demonstrations.
Parking tips, 2012 schedule, past years' highlights and more details for you to enjoy the 2012 Air Show.
Ocean City presents the 26th annual Ocean City Airport Festival on Saturday, Sept. 17, and then follows on Sunday, Sept. 18, with an Aerobatic Air Show off the Boardwalk.
This year’s Atlantic City “Thunder Over the Boardwalk” Air Show will tie into the series with seven outstanding bands performing Monday through Wednesday, Aug. 15-17, including about six hours of music beyond when the air show ends (around 3:30pm) Wednesday.
Nine years after the “Thunder Over the Boardwalk” Air Show sped to the forefront as Atlantic City’s signature summer event like an F-16, a parade was organized as a preface to the air show that has already indicated similar success.
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