Beachgoers and sunbathers are going to have to make room on the beach for air show fans who are set to flock there for the Fort Lauderdale Air Show which returns May 7-8 after a two year absence. Here are six ways you can get the most out of this high-flying show.
Via Giphy.com. No, Tom Cruise is not going to be there.
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Meet the pilots
Kick things off Friday night, May 6 at the Sound Waves Concert from 5:30-8:30 p.m. with a performance by one of Fort Lauderdale’s most beloved local bands Mr. Nice Guy. Mingle with the pilots at the event and knock back a few Yuenglings, which will be on special. Blondies, 300 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Free.
Watch the aerial spectacle
Exercise your neck muscles and prepare for two days of thrilling flight sequences starting at 11 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Both days begin with the National Anthem Flag Jump and end with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. In between you’ll see the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in the Heritage Flight, U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet Demo, Brietling Jet Team and U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier Demo, among others. Birch State Park on A1A, Fort Lauderdale Beach. Free.
Get a closer look
Getting there early is a must because that’s the perfect time to check out the Air Show Displays, which open at 9 a.m. each day. Spend a couple of hours getting a close up look at several interactive exhibits, try out the flight simulators and see plenty of flight memorabilia. This area will be open until 4 p.m. SR A1A north of Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Free.
Prefer to sit in comfort and avoid the sand altogether? The VIP the Flight Line Club & Chalet Row opens at 9 a.m. each day. Here you’ll sit in wooden folding chairs and also can relax under a tent at one of several intimate tables for two. You’ll keep the sand out of your shoes but still enjoy all the flight excitement. SR A1A north of Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. $169.
Party like a pilot
There are also a couple of evening parties happening, the Saturday Performer Party and Sunday night’s Air Show Recovery Party, both at 7 p.m. At Saturday’s shindig, the U.S. Airforce Thunderbird Team and Lucas Oil Parachute Team will be signing autographs, available for selfies and a general Meet ‘n Greet. And on Sunday prepare to send all the pilots, performers and crew off in style at a casual bar party. Saturday, Sea Levels at the Marriott Harbor Beach, 3030 Holiday Dr., Fort Lauderdale; Sunday, Burlock Coast at the Ritz Carlton, 1 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Both free.
Get in the Drop Zone
And for a less crowded area where you can still see all the action from the beach, try the Drop Zone Beach section. All the same great viewing area but with food and beverages, including wine and beer, for sale and portable restrooms. It’s considered the “aerial 50-yard line.” Tickets $34 for adults, $22 for children 6-12.