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By Sean Rice, County Times
Photographs of the Blue Angels from the 2005 PAXRVR show. (Photos: David Noss)
PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (May 22, 2009) -- The Blue Angels, the Golden Knights, the Red Eagle. The acts booked for Air Expo ’09 run the full spectrum of aerial acrobatics, from low-speed tricksters to awe-inspiring formations flying near the speed of sound.
Event planners expect the crowd for the two-day Air Expo at Naval Air Station Patuxent River on May 23-24 to exceed 100,000, which was the estimated crowd size for the most recent air show on base, held Labor Day weekend 2005.
For its triumphant return in 2009, the lineup of events is nearly as awe-inspiring as the acts. See below for highlights from the program lineup. For St. Mary’s County, having the air show “is a great addition to a very strong lineup of events we have every year,” said Carolyn Laray, county tourism manager.
Laray said the Air Expo coming this year is extra special, because it adds to the year-long celebration of the 375th anniversary of Maryland’s birthplace in St. Mary’s County.
“It’s always a wonderful event, and it introduces not only the base and the air show, but the whole county to visitors from all over the region,” Laray said.
The event also serves as an open house for Naval Air Station Pax River and is one of the few occasions when the general public can get on base.
“It’s not often that folks get to really go out there and take a look at all the fabulous things they do out there,” Laray said.
“We’ve had a long history of air shows here at Pax River,” going back to at least the early 1960s, said Rebecca March, event coordinator.
The gates open each day at 9 a.m., with festivities getting underway at approximately 10:30 a.m., March said. The schedule will be identical for each day, with the Golden Eagles kicking off the four-plushour aerial segment of the show at about 11:30 a.m., and ending with the Blue Angels routine.
The general public will enter the base via Gate 2, near Great Mills Road. Individuals with base access credentials will enter through Gate 1.
There will be security measures in place, March said, but individual cars will not be checked on the way through Gate 2, which should limit traffic backups.
Spectators are encouraged to bring chairs or a blanket to sit on, and pay seating will also be available. Food and beverages will be available at vendor booths, along with souvenirs.
Weapons and explosives are prohibited, along with illegal substances, coolers, alcoholic beverages, glass containers, pets, bicycles, roller blades, skateboards, scooters and backpacks. All persons, vehicles, diaper bags, camera bags, and purses are subject to search.
More information about the show is available at the official Web site, http://www.paxairexpo.org/ .