Every year or two going back as far as Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes can remember, there’s been an air show in town – until 2006.
When the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds descend on Myrtle Beach this summer, it will be the beginning of what the mayor said he hopes is an annual affair.
“The Thunderbirds have always been a part of the community,” Rhodes said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference announcing the air show this June.
George Cline of Air Boss Inc., a Greensboro, N.C.-based company that is producing the event, said he was excited to bring the air show back to the beach.
“Hopefully we can keep this air show going for a few years,” Cline said.
The show takes place June 28 through June 30 and includes a number of air teams, music by the U.S. Army Band, vendors and presentations marking Myrtle Beach’s 75th birthday.
“It’s not just Myrtle Beach’s 75th, it’s about bringing an air show to the Grand Strand,” Rhodes said.
Horry County Councilman Brent Schulz said the event was a cooperative effort between Horry County and Myrtle Beach. The county approved $80,000 in accommodations tax money for the show.
City spokesman Mark Kruea said Myrtle Beach has not been asked to put any money toward the event.
“I’m not aware that we have any money in it at this time, though I’m sure we’ll provide some in-kind services [such as] law enforcement, public works and sanitation,” he said.
The event is expected to bring large crowds – in addition to typical summer visitors – who specifically come to town to view the air show.
“This is going to be a huge draw on top of what we normally get down here,” Schulz said.
Pilots from the Thunderbirds will participate in what Maj. Michael Fisher called an exciting show in Myrtle Beach this summer, with solo pilots demonstrating what the F-16 airplanes are capable of and teams flying in tight formations.
“We’ll be as close as 18 inches going as fast as 400 to 500 miles per hour,” Fisher said. “People can expect lots of excitement, lots of noise.”
The show, which will take place from Eighth Avenue North to Second Avenue Pier over the ocean, also will feature presentations from the AeroShell Aerobatic Team, Mike Lucas-Lucas Oil Air Show team, Raiders Aerobatic team, the Fowler Cary T-33 Jet and the All Veteran Parachute Team.
All of the weekend’s events are free to the public. The 64-piece U.S. Army Ground Forces Band will play a military concert as part of the activities that start at 7:30 p.m. June 28 on the former Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park site.
Also 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. On June 29 and June 30, performances will take place between 12:30 and 4 p.m.
For more information about the air show, visit www.AirshowMyrtleBeach.com.