Thunderbirds to help celebrate Myrtle Beach birthday

02/12/2013 10:32 PM

02/12/2013 10:37 PM

Myrtle Beach will celebrate its 75th birthday in June with an air show over the ocean featuring the United States Air Force Thunderbirds and other performing aerobatics teams.

The Myrtle Beach Air Show will take place June 28 through June 30 and will include the air teams, music by the U.S. Army Band, vendors and presentations marking Myrtle Beach's milestone birthday, said George Cline of Air Boss Inc., a Greensboro, N.C.-based company that produces and directs air shows.

The event is free, and spectators should plan to watch from the sand near the former Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park for the best view of the air show. The vendors, music and presentations will take place near the boardwalk at the former Pavilion site.

Though the Thunderbirds will likely be the big draw, several other air acts also will perform, including Aeroshell Aerobatic Team, a Vintage Thunderbird team, a jump team featuring a former Golden Knight and Mike Wiskus, an aerobatics champion.

"We've got a pretty good lineup," said Cline, who produces about 30 air shows a year and previously was involved in air shows that were part of the Sun Fun Festival. "It's going to be a pretty big event for the weekend."

Officials plan to announce the event and details about it during a news conference Wednesday at Myrtle Beach Aviation, 1250 Airdrome Ave. Cline, Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes, Horry County Councilman Brent Schulz and Horry County Airports Director Mike La Pier are scheduled to attend. Amie Lee of Palmetto Event Productions declined to comment on the show Tuesday.

Myrtle Beach hasn't had an air show in at least five years, and city officials have wanted to bring one back because it's a big draw, with throngs of spectators flocking to the sand to watch the action overhead.

Air shows were often part of the Sun Fun Festival in Myrtle Beach, which was canceled last year and isn't scheduled to return this summer.

Timing an air show with the city's 75th birthday would help generate excitement, city spokesman Mark Kruea said. It's one of a number of events city officials are planning to mark the birthday this year.

"The air show during Sun Fun was always very popular and exciting," he said. "It's an exciting, crowd-pleasing event. It's one of those awe-inspiring types of things."

On June 28, activities will include practices during the day and air performances during the evening, as well as presentations for Myrtle Beach's birthday. Activity on June 29-30 will likely kick off about 12:30 p.m. and last until about 4:30 p.m., Cline said.

"It's something different for the community," he said. "It just adds more to your beach-going pleasure."

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